The Fringe Society yesterday launched a fundraising campaign to raise £7.5m over three to five years to help aid the long-term recovery of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
“The last 18 months have been the most challenging in the Fringe’s history, and everyone – from artists and venues to the Fringe Society - has experienced huge losses," said Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, at the launch of Save the Fringe.
"I’m so proud of what’s been achieved in 2021, and in so many ways, this year’s festival was a success. Over 940 shows were brought to life, incredible new venues were created in the most imaginative of spaces, and audiences flocked back to experience the magic of the Fringe."
“But it can't be stressed enough: this does not mean the Fringe is back to health. 2021’s scaled-back event only happened because of emergency grants, and in many cases, loans that now need to be repaid. We want to ensure the Fringe that returns reflects the world we live in - not just those who can afford to keep going.
“Recovery isn’t about going back to how things were. It’s about reimagining the Fringe as the best version of itself and using this moment of pause to reflect and change. We want everyone – from residents and local business owners to artists, operators and audience members – to have their say on what that looks like. And we’ll need support to make that vision a reality.”
The fundraising campaign will be driven by seven principles, which aim 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 our 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
So far Edinburgh Gin are on board as founding investors, with an estimated £150k investment to come from the sales of its Edinburgh Gin Presents Phoebe Waller-Bridge collaboration. Around £160k has also been raised through individual donors.