Global festivals celebration to mark Edinburgh Fringe's 70th birthday

A specially-branded open top bus was unveiled today to coincide with the World Fringe Day launch.
A specially-branded open top bus was unveiled today to coincide with the World Fringe Day launch.
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A global celebration of festivals is to be staged for 24 hours in the run-up to the 70th anniversary Edinburgh Fringe - in a bit to emulate the worldwide buzz generated by St Patrick’s Day and Burns Night.


More than 200 “open access” events as far afield as Canada, South Africa and Australia are expected to unite to help mark their Scottish roots.

A key element of World Fringe Day, which will be held on 11 July and could become an annual event, will be to highlight Edinburgh as the “birthplace” of the fringe festival.

Organisers say the international celebration will “transcend national boundaries, demonstrating the power of arts and culture to bring people together.”

The campaign, which is being backed to the tune of £100,000 by the Scottish Government, is expected to see special live events staged in dozens of participating cities, as well as in Edinburgh.

Messages of goodwill are expected to be sent to the Scottish capital from across the world, while performers, producers, venues and festival-goers will be urged to join a social media drive aimed at spreading “the collective power and worldwide reach of Fringe movement.”

The campaign will recall the 1947 origins of the Scottish event, which was famously instigated by artists and companies who were not invited to take part in the first Edinburgh International Festival.

World Fringe Day, which was launched by Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop and Fringe chief executive Shona McCarthy in Edinburgh, will be staged less than a month before thousands of performers descend on the Scottish capital for this year’s Fringe.

A specially branded open-top bus which will be part of the 30-strong Edinburgh Bus Tours fleet was also unveiled to coincide with the launch of the campaign at The Mound.

Ms McCarthy, who was appointed last year, said: “We’re thrilled to reveal the plans for the first ever World Fringe Day.

“We can’t wait to join with our sister Fringes across the world to celebrate the wonder and joy of fringe festivals in this auspicious year.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Fringe organisers, venues, participants and audiences to take part in a truly international celebration of creativity that will transcend national boundaries, demonstrating the power of arts and culture to bring people together.

“We hope as many people as possible will join us for a very special day of worldwide fringe fun, as we celebrate 70 years of Fringe and pay homage to Scotland as the birthplace of the Fringe movement.”

Ms Hyslop said: “World Fringe Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the global connections that Scotland has made through the arts.

“Edinburgh’s festivals are world renowned and it is remarkable to think that the fringe movement, that began here in 1947 with the founding of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has developed into a worldwide network with Fringes now taking place on every continent except Antarctica.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support World Fringe Day, acknowledging Scotland as the home of fringe and joining with the many other wonderful fringe festivals around the world for an international day of celebration.”