The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has been given a special funding package from the Scottish Government to help the festival survive its cancellation this year.
A £1 million interest-free loan has been granted to the Fringe Society, which is the charity that oversees the annual performance festival. It will also receive £249,000 in grants from the City of Edinburgh Council (£100,000) and the Scottish government’s relief fund for businesses deemed vital to the country’s economy (£149,000). The £1 million loan will be repaid by the Fringe Society over six years.
This year’s fringe, along with all of Edinburgh’s summer festivals, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time the event has not taken place since it was founded more than 70 years ago. The funding package agreed by the government is intended to mitigate the "significant losses" felt by the cancellation of the 2020 fringe, as well as providing funds to support the thousands of artists, venues and companies who have been financially affected.
The Fringe Society’s chief executive, Shona McCarthy, described the funding as "a life raft" and said it would offer proper support to many parts of the fringe’s ecosystem. "This festival is about much more than three weeks in August. It’s an embodiment of how culture and creativity unites us, and in this incredibly difficult time, we’re grateful to be working so closely with our partners at Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and City of Edinburgh Council on this common goal," she said.
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said the funding package would "help ensure the world-renowned festival can bounce back in 2021". "Many performers, cultural organisations and businesses rely on the festival and I hope it can build on its previous major successes to safely return to the international stage," she added.
Original story here.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe / Image: Moyan Ben