'Absolute disaster but correct decision' - Readers react as Edinburgh festivals cancelled due to coronavirus

Readers have been reacting to Edinburgh’s main festivals today confirming the cancellation of their 2020 programmes due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Jamie McKenzie
Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 6:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 6:41 pm

A collective decision over the August events, which date back to 1947, was taken following crisis talks in recent days with the city council and the Scottish Government.

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Edinburgh's August festivals, including the Fringe and the Tattoo, pull the plug

The Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe, the Tattoo, and the city’s art and book festivals are all due to officially pull the plug after abandoning all hope of being able to go ahead this year.

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Readers have been reacting to the news of the Edinburgh festivals being cancelled due to the impact of coronavirus.

The main festivals have agreed to focus all their efforts on a full-scale revival in 2021 after being assured that £10 million of public funding for the events remains intact.

The collective decision will be a huge blow to Edinburgh’s economy as the events – which have featured around 25,000 performers from more than 70 countries in recent years – are worth more than £300 million to the city.

Reader reaction

Here’s how Edinburgh Evening News readers reacted to the news on social media…

Robbie Howie said: “Absolute disaster for so many businesses in Edinburgh and thousands of people that make their wage in this month alone. Of course it’s probably the correct decision but let’s not come on here saying great news etc because you personally don’t make from the festival.”

Phil MacHugh said: “Heart broken. Couldn’t have been an easy decision for the Fringe team but it’s the right one given the circumstances. Will look forward to a HUGE festival in 2021.”

Andrew Nicolson said: “It's sad, I do love festival time, love the atmosphere in the city and always try and see a few shows. Also sad for the many artists and groups who will have put a lot of effort and hard work in already in preparation, and the many businesses who rely on the busy summer period.

“But I guess given the circumstances and uncertainty, they had to make a decision, and appears it by August there is no way we will be back to anything representing 'normality' so as sad as this is, it is the right decision.”

Kirsten Baird said: “It's the right thing to do. I also think a rest year isn't necessarily a bad idea. Very sad for those who adversely affected though.”

Frances Mitchell said: “Really sad but definitely the correct decision. If this doesn’t show people how serious the current situation is then I don’t know what will.”

And Liz Cleghorn said: “Before the festival grew so big tourists came to Edinburgh this won’t stop them (once back to normal) there’s so much more to Edinburgh than this festival.”

Other readers strongly welcomed the cancellation of the festivals…

Juan Vatio said: “Excellent news maybe this July and August I won't have to listen to the constant party's and be kept awake all night by festival goers oh and be able to get places without it taking three times as long as normal.”

Jenni Howard said: “Good. Give Edinburgh a break for once. I for one, will now enjoy August in my city.”

Banks Stephen said: “Maybe the hopelessly overworked and underpaid hospitality workers will get a summer holiday they richly deserve this year.” But Louise Maclean responded: “There won’t be any jobs! We need spikes in tourism to balance out the desperately quiet months.”

Becca ‘Tatties’ wrote: “Yay! Maybe now the locals will actually get to enjoy their city in the summer.”

Shelly Allan Wilson said: “At last, some good news.”

Seán Ó Dúláin-Osborne said: “Let’s hope it’s the death of full time Air B&B vultures. Homes are for living in. Hotels are for tourists.” Other readers responded to highlight the impact on bed and breakfasts, tour guides and Uber.

Karl Fraser wrote: “Can we abandon the Christmas market at the same time please !!”