Festivals respond to Covid-19

Mar 13 2020 | By More

EIF & EdFringe issue Coronavirus updates

Edinburgh’s August festivals are set to continue as planned according to the statements from The Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society today (Friday 13 March 2020).

The EIF has, however, cancelled its March launch events on Wednesday 18 in Edinburgh and Wednesday 25 in London. It will now hold a single online digital event, broadcast live on its Facebook Page on Wednesday 18 March at 12 noon GMT, where audiences will be able to pose questions to the programming team.

Shona McCarthy, Fringe Chief Executive

The EIF has also temporarily updated its refund policy. If an audience member is unable to attend any event at the 2020 Edinburgh International Festival for any reason related to the Coronavirus outbreak, the full cost of the ticket will be refunded.

The Fringe says that with so much still unknown and with the Fringe still five months away, it remains optimistic that the festival will continue as usual in August.

Over the next few weeks it will be continuing its planning and day-to-day operations in line with the latest advice and recommendations. This includes limiting travel and digitising events where possible.

Shona McCarthy, EdFringe Chief Executive, said: “We are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak closely, taking guidance from both the UK and Scottish Governments.

health and safety

“Our current position is to plan for the Fringe in August as normal, but with an eye to an ever-changing environment. The health and safety of Fringe participants, audiences and staff is – and always will be – our top priority and we will update participants and stakeholders of any changes.”

Speaking of the EIF’s position, festival director Fergus Linehan said: “In light of the current Coronavirus outbreak, we will cancel all gatherings associated with our 2020 programme launch. Prioritising the wellbeing of our city, our audiences and artists, all launch events will shift online to an interactive format.

Fergus Linehan, Edinburgh International Festival Director. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

“At this point, the Festival is almost 5 months away. For now we remain committed to running the International Festival as planned. In hope that the pandemic will be curbed by August, we must continue to provide security for our artists and for our sector.

“We hope that in August, our Festival will provide a much-needed moment of joy after what will have been a challenging summer. To reassure our audiences, we have also revised our refunds policy to offer anyone with Coronavirus related concerns a ticket refund.”

financial impact

Concerning what would happen if the festivals were to be cancelled, McCarthy sought to reassure participants that EdFringe will seek to limit the financial impact for all concerned.

McCarthy said: “Were the situation to dramatically change and the Fringe in its entirety had to be cancelled (through a government directive on public events or gatherings in August), the Fringe Society will work with our insurers, government stakeholders and – most importantly – our participants to limit the financial impact across the whole Fringe as much as we possibly can.

“We would also offer participants who have already paid the opportunity to roll their show registration forward to the 2021 Fringe to cover an equivalent show listing.”

She added: “We are aware that the current situation is difficult for everyone involved and we want to encourage participants to keep talking to us. If ever there was a time for working together with empathy, humanity and mutual understanding, this is it. So let’s keep talking and doing our best to weather this together. If you have any further questions, please email us at participants@edfringe.com.”

The EIF has outlined its refund policy, saying that any refund must be requested at least two working days in advance of the performance by contacting Hub Tickets on +44 (0)131 473 2000 or email boxoffice@hubtickets.co.uk.

Booking and postage fees are non-refundable. Refunds will only be issued to the customer who made the booking and proof of ID will be required for cash refunds. Those opting for printed tickets will need to return these to Hub Tickets at least two working days in advance of the performance.


The first EdFringe tickets are already on sale. Tickets for the 2020 EID will go on sale as planned on general sale from 28 March at 10am GMT. Tickets can be purchased online at eif.co.uk, by phone on 0131 473 2000, or in person at Hub Tickets.


EIF Covid-19 statement: www.eif.co.uk.

EdFringe Covid-19 statement: www.edfringe.com/covid-19.


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