The Edinburgh Fringe and Festival has been cancelled for the first time in its 70 year history, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
(We say ‘pish’, this COULD still go ahead – see bottom.)
Festival CEO Shona McCarthy said that what may have seemed unthinkable a few months ago is now a reality.
Edinburgh Fringe takes stock
“Just a few months ago, the idea of Edinburgh without the Fringe and our sister festivals would have been totally unthinkable; now, like so many other aspects of our day-to-day lives, we must pause and take stock in the face of something far bigger.”
“Our hearts go out to the doctors, nurses, health and social care professionals on the front line; to everyone working to keep the country going, and to those who have been directly affected by this pandemic.
“Your courage in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all.”
McCarthy added that her thoughts were also with the many thousands of artists, writers, producers, reviewers, venues and backstage crew whose careers have been put on hold over the past month or so.
“We know today’s decision will be a difficult one for many, but please know that we will continue to be here for you and will do everything we can to support you in the weeks and months ahead.
“Today’s decision that the Fringe will not go ahead as planned was not taken lightly.
“We have spent the past month listening to a broad cross-section of Fringe participants, as well as to government, healthcare professionals, residents and many more; however, in light of present circumstances it was unavoidable.
“Public health must and always will come first.
“We are working hard to mitigate the impact of this decision on Fringe artists and audience members.
She added that the Festival is committed to refunding all participant registration fees. It will also refund the Fringe tickets and Friends memberships purchased by our audience members.
“We are also offering participants who have already paid the alternative of rolling their show registration forward to the 2021 Fringe to cover an equivalent show listing.
“Our thanks in particular here go out to our sponsors and partners, without whose long-term commitment to the Fringe none of this would have been possible.
The show must go on
Mediashotz believes, though, that this festival could be re-arranged into a digital event.
We made a similar call last week when the BFI Flare LGBTI Film Festival was cancelled for the same reasons.
Following Mediashotz suggestion, the BFI turned the situation around and hastily transformed the event into a digital spectacular.
We know that some good Scottish tenacity and a sense of adventure could create a rally call to put on a digital version of the event. Come on, who’s in?