Support for Fringe Society

Backing for world’s largest performing arts festival.

The Scottish Government has agreed a funding package for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the charity that underpins the world-famous Fringe Festival.

As part of a commitment to support cultural, social and economic recovery, the Fringe Society will receive a £1 million interest-free loan from the Scottish Government. It will also benefit from a £149,000 Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund grant and a £100,000 grant from City of Edinburgh Council.

The money will be used to mitigate the significant losses incurred as a result of this year’s festival not going ahead as planned due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and to support the thousands of Fringe artists, companies and venues whose livelihoods have been affected.

The Fringe is estimated to be worth around £200 million to the wider Scottish and UK economy. Thousands of artists and cultural entrepreneurs across the UK rely on the Fringe annually as a key milestone for employment.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“This has been an extremely worrying time for people whose livelihoods, careers and wellbeing have been affected by COVID-19 and the cancellation of festivals such as the Fringe.

“I am one of many thousands of people who will miss the Fringe this year. It is one of Scotland’s greatest cultural exports and this funding package will help ensure the world-renowned festival can bounce back in 2021. Many performers, cultural organisations and businesses rely on the festival and I hope it can build on its previous major successes to safely return to the international stage.”

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said:

“This funding is a life raft to the Fringe Society, enabling us to properly support the extensive ecosystem of artists, venues and businesses who rely on the Fringe. This festival is about much more than three weeks in August. It’s an embodiment of how culture and creativity unites us, and in this incredibly difficult time, we’re grateful to be working so closely with our partners at Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and City of Edinburgh Council on this common goal.”

Edinburgh City Council Leader Adam McVey said:

“We’re incredibly proud to be known as the world’s Festival City and are well aware of the positive cultural, social and economic life of the city contribution our festivals make to our residents and visitors. We worked quickly to help our Fringe festival get through the enormous challenge of COVID-19, working with Government to put resources in place to ensure the festival’s survival.

“I look forward to welcoming back the Fringe, and all our summer festivals.”


The loan will be repaid over six years.

Since COVID-19 restrictions have been in place, the Scottish Government has worked closely with Festivals Edinburgh and Creative Scotland to explore ways to strengthen festival resilience, including ensuring that as many existing commitments with artists and freelancers as possible are honoured, and to repurpose our EXPO (£2m budget in 2020/21) and PLACE (£1m budget in 2020/21) funding accordingly.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was awarded a grant of £149,929 under the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund (PERF), which provides grants for businesses in Scotland adversely impacted by COVID-19 and which are vital to their local, regional or national economies.

PERF support is delivered by Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise on behalf of the Scottish Government. Due to significant demand, the amount of funding available through PERF was increased to £120 million in May 2020. The fund has now closed, but more information on funding support can be found here.


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