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Potential u-turn

Fringe show may go on…if the virus crisis eases

Perhaps Contraption performing last year (pic: Terry Murden)

The show may go on, after all. Organisers of the Edinburgh Fringe have said an event could still be held if lockdown restrictions are lifted by August.

Just 24 hours after the five festivals were cancelled, the Fringe Society has told companies, venues and artists that plans are in place to stage shows in the city, should the all-clear be declared.

It follows suggestions reported by Daily Business yesterday that the four main venues still hoped to “rekindle” the event in some form this summer.

In a message today, the Society said: “should restrictions be lifted, public health officials deem it safe to do so, and venues and artists emerge in August with stages for work needing to be performed, we have plans in place to ensure we can support that as quickly and as much as we can.

“We could offer all our usual ticketing and show listings information online at as quickly and easily as possible. If budget considerations allow, we could undertake a local concentrated digital marketing campaign for audiences.

“Right now, our core team will continue to support companies and venues by providing impartial, fact-based information and signposting to any advice and guidance which sit beyond our abilities and remit.

“We’ll also stay in touch with the media and arts industry as necessary to ensure your work remains as visible as possible.”

Four of the biggest Fringe venues – the Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Underbelly and Pleasance – have refused to give up on staging shows this summer.

They issued a joint statement yesterday to visiting companies and performers, saying: “Whilst we are suspending our activity for the foreseeable future, if there is any chance that we might rekindle the spark of a festival fringe at our venues in August 2020 and rebuild an event for this summer, we will certainly try.”

It is estimated by the Centre for Economics and Business Research that the Festivals bring £1 billion in economic benefit to the economy and any possibility that even a scaled down version could be held will be a lifeline to many businesses, as well as participants, who depend heavily on it.

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