Edinburgh Fringe Festival called off due to COVID-19

Washington DC: The UK’s largest arts festival — Edinburgh Fringe Festival — has been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

The event is a platform for stand-up comedy and other stage productions.

The Fringe is among five Edinburgh festivals that have been called off in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus, reported Variety.

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The other five Edinburgh festivals that will not take place for the first time in more than 70 years include — Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The organisers of the event confirmed the cancellation on Wednesday through a statement from Fringe chief executive Shona McCarthy, who said that the idea of Edinburgh without the Fringe and other festivals a few months ago would have been “totally unthinkable.”

“Today’s decision that the Fringe will not go ahead as planned was not taken lightly. We have spent the past month listening to a broad cross-section of Fringe participants, as well as to government, healthcare professionals, residents and many more. However, in light of present circumstances, it was unavoidable. Public health must and always will come first,” said McCarthy.

“We are working hard to mitigate the impact of this decision on Fringe artists and audience members. Today, we are committing to refunding all participant registration fees, as well as refunding the Fringe tickets and Friends memberships purchased by our audience members. We are also offering participants who have already paid the alternative of rolling their show registration forward to the 2021 Fringe to cover an equivalent show listing,” McCarthy added.

She also said the Fringe and its sister festivals are working to “find new ways of uniting people under a Fringe umbrella.”

“It is too early to say what this will look like, but we are confident that as a collective, we can find a way to reach through the walls that currently surround us and inspire, cheer and connect,” McCarthy stated.

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