Edinburgh festivals cancelled

All five of Edinburgh’s summer festivals have been cancelled for this year because of Covid-19.

The Edinburgh Art Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo have all been called off for the first time in the festival season’s 73-year history.

The five August festivals offer over 5,000 events across Scotland’s capital welcoming audiences of 4.4 million visitors and over 25,000 artists, writers and performers from 70 countries, making them the second biggest cultural event in the world after the Olympics.

“We recognise that Edinburgh’s festivals play a very important role in the cultural, social and economic lives of our city and country, and this decision has not been taken lightly” said EIF director Fergus Linehan. “The Edinburgh International Festival was born out of adversity – an urgent need to reconnect and rebuild. The current crisis presents all at the festival with a similar sense of urgency. Work begins straight away on a 2021 festival season that will boost both our spirits and our economy.”

And Shona McCarthy, director of the Fringe, added: “Our sympathies, too, are with the thousands of artists and participants directly affected by today’s decision – we will do everything we can to support you over the coming months.

“Culture brings out the best in us. It gives the marginalised a voice, it shapes and reshapes how we think of ourselves and, crucially, it unites us. Since their inception in 1947 the Edinburgh festivals have existed to champion the flowering of the human spirit and, in the face of this truly unprecedented global emergency, we believe that this spirit is needed now more than ever.” 


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