Edinburgh Fringe: Future of Edinburgh's comedy festival in ‘real danger’ over covid restrictions, warns chief executive Shona McCarthy

The future of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is “in danger” if the Scottish government does not ease social distancing rules for venues within a fortnight, the organiser has warned.

By Beth Murray
Saturday, 29th May 2021, 4:20 pm

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, urged ministers to drop the current two-metre rule for venues to the one-metre rule used in hospitality.

She said if this does not change, it places the future of the 75-year-old festival under threat.

Ms McCarthy told The Times Scotland: “Within another two weeks, it’s going to be impossible for any [Edinburgh promoter] to put on anything.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“There’s a real danger for the future of the Fringe. One year of no festival was manageable, and we were able to keep it in our hearts and minds and everybody still held that space in their calendar, as that annual moment for re-connection and getting together.

“At two years, you jeopardise the solid space the Fringe has held for 75 years.

“This is a moment when we’re really looking to the Scottish government to have that leap of faith and trust Fringe operators in the same way as they are trusting the hospitality sector to deliver services safely to the public.”

Read More

Read More
Coronravirus in Scotland: Expert warns of difficulty of increasing restrictions ...
Future of Edinburgh Festival Fringe in ‘real danger’, organiser warns. (Credit: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was cancelled for the first time in its history last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Show registration for both online and in-person performances opened earlier this month for this year’s Fringe which is taking place from August 6 to August 30 this year.

The results of the Scottish government’s review of the two-metre social distancing rule are expected to be announced before the planned move to level one on June 7.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.