Edinburgh festivals called off because of coronavirus pandemic

International Festival, Festival Fringe, art and book festivals, and military tattoo cancelled

Edinburgh festivals: Bromance, performed by Barely Methodical Troupe, at last year’s fringe. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Edinburgh festivals: Bromance, performed by Barely Methodical Troupe, at last year’s fringe. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

 

This year’s Edinburgh festivals have all been scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Edinburgh International Festival and the associated Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Art Festival, International Book Festival and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo were due to take place in August.

Normally, the festivals say, they stage more than 5,000 events across Scotland’s capital each summer, attracting audiences of more than 4.4 million and featuring more than 25,000 artists, writers and performers from 70 countries, making them “the second-biggest cultural event in the world after the Olympics”.

Fergus Linehan, the Irish director of Edinburgh International Festival, said: “We are hugely disappointed to announce this cancellation, but given the current outlook we believe it is the correct decision.

“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.”

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “It’s heartbreaking that the Fringe and our sister August festivals will not take place as planned this summer. However, having taken advice and considered all the options, we collectively believe this is the only appropriate response.” – PA