Edinburgh residents urged to take in Fringe performers to help tackle soaring accommodation costs

Organisers of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe have issued an appeal to residents to take in performers in their spare rooms to help tackle the soaring cost of taking part in the event.

Locals are being urged to come forward to help ensure the stars of the future are able to take part in the event – but are being asked to charge no more than £280 per person per week.

Home-owners are also being asked to charge no more than the suggested cap if they rent out their empty property, as the festival’s organisers admitted performers would be deterred from coming to the event if they could not afford to stay anywhere.

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The Fringe Society has launched a drive to find “more accommodation options” ahead of the Fringe’s 75th-anniversary season to help visiting performers meet “the number one cost”.

It has also launched an attack on “unscrupulous landlords in ­Edinburgh who have pushed their accommodation rates to unacceptable levels”.

There are warnings the festival is facing a growing crisis over the soaring cost of accommodation, with many landlords said to have hiked up rents to try to recoup income lost during the pandemic.

The appeal states: “Fancy getting really involved in the Fringe this August?

"It probably won't surprise you to learn that the number one cost for visiting artists putting on a show at the Fringe is accommodation – so, if you have space and want to support Fringe artists, maybe you'd like to consider hosting this year?

Performers Oliver Nilsson, Sam Dugmore and Jonathan Tilley from the comedy trio The Latebloomers previously performed at the Assembly Rooms during the Fringe. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

“If you have space to spare, you can register for as long or as short a stay as you like.

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“All we ask is that you keep the rent under £280 per person per week – after all, we're here to support artists, and want them to be able to keep crafting great shows year after year. And who knows – you could end up having the next breakout star staying under your roof.

“We’re seeking more accommodation options for artists because supporting artists to attend is one of our primary goals.

"If Fringe artists can’t find a place to stay, they can’t attend the festival or bring their shows.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe entertainers perform on the Royal Mile in August 2019. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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"By advertising a room on the platform, you are helping support the Fringe by supporting artists to attend and deliver their work.”

Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: "We know that rising accommodation prices are a real issue for Fringe artists and creatives this year.

"While the rates are sadly outwith the control of the Fringe Society or venues, we would support any legislative initiative that could put greater controls on pricing.

"We also know this isn't a challenge the Fringe faces alone. Edinburgh is a World Heritage City whose visitor numbers peak in the summer months, with five festivals happening at the same time.

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A full-scale Fringe is expected to be staged for the first time in three years this summer. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

"We're reaching out to the residents of Edinburgh and asking them to host an artist in their spare room.

“Over a third of Edinburgh residents visit the Fringe. Registering as a host is another way to engage and support the artists that make this festival diverse, inclusive and inspiring.

"It's added support for those participating, including performers, producers and technical staff, so they can continue to bring incredible work to our city each year, irrespective of background or financial status."