Edinburgh's crippled Fringe Festival launches Save the Fringe

Published: 29 August 2021
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Credit: Faye Thomas
Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021

This week saw the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society launch a £7.5m fundraising campaign to support its recovery from the crippling financial damage wreaked by the COVID pandemic.

Benny Higgins, chair, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said, “the Fringe… is not publicly funded in any meaningful way, and the last 18 months have shown us how much urgent investment is needed to protect this world-renowned event. An estimated £20m was lost in 2020 alone. To make 2021 a reality, many operators relied on loans and emergency grants. This is not sustainable."

Save the Fringe is anticipated to run for three to five years and is committed to:

  • Support artists and venues who bring work to the Fringe.
  • Break down barriers to participation in the Fringe.
  • Build and support sustainable practices across the festival.
  • Deepen engagement with Edinburgh residents.
  • Extend engagement with young people—particularly from underrepresented areas of the city.
  • Create opportunities for network building and professional development for artists and arts industry across Fringe platforms.
  • Secure a new home for the Fringe Society to provide a year-round space for artists, community groups and schools.

A consultation programme will identify how best to establish the funding criteria. In the meantime, the campaign has the support of Edinburgh Gin which is donating all profits from the sale of its Edinburgh Gin Presents Phoebe Waller-Bridge collaboration and some £310,000 already raised from individual donors at time of writing.

Donations can be made on the Edfringe web site.