Support for festivals and workers

Apr 1 2020 | By More

Festivals can repurpose existing grants

The Scottish government and Edinburgh Council have both said that Edinburgh’s August festivals can repurpose existing grants to ensure their future.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Holyrood parliament today, Wednesday 1 April 2020, that the cancelation of this year’s festivals was “a heartbreaking decision but absolutely the right one”.

She said “We have agreed that some Scottish Government support for the festivals can be used for different purposes, such as ensuring that freelancers and artists are still paid, and we will of course work with the festivals to ensure that they return even stronger next year.”

Sturgeon commits to support for Edinburgh festival at Holyrood. Pic: Screen-grab from Twitter.

Sturgeon was reinforcing and extending Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop’s earlier statement on the decision.

Hyslop said: “I am committed to looking into support for seasonal staff who will suffer some of the greatest impact.

“The Scottish Government will work with the festivals and all partners to ensure they can build on their previous success and return to the stage in 2021.”

supporting the cultural sector

The Edinburgh Council has also committed to continuing the Council’s funding programmes supporting the cultural sector, and to this resource being “repurposed to help towards mitigating the impacts of the current pressures”.

The council’s cross-party leadership advisory panel agreed at its inaugural meeting on Tuesday 31 March, to progress the cultural grant funding.

The council will now release 70% of grant awards immediately. The balance of funding, which is normally released in Autumn each year, will be kept under regular review.

Councillor Adam McVey, the council leader, said: “We’re looking at every feasible option to help to sustain our key sectors, including the festivals, and have committed to honouring all grant payments due to our cultural partners for the current year, and to the repurposing of these, as required.

“By releasing the allocated grants to our Strategic Partners across the city we’re helping support them as far as possible through these exceptionally challenging times.”

mitigate the impact

For the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, chief executive Shona McCarthy said the society is “working hard to mitigate the impact of this decision on Fringe artists and audience members”.

In her statement announcing that the Fringe “will not go ahead as planned”, she said: “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.”

Edinburgh fringe venues appear to be responding in an appropriate fashion regarding participants. Summerhall, for example, says that it has “spoken with all companies who were due to participate and will refund their deposit payments in full”.

With regards tickets, venues seem to be taking shows off sale and refunding any ticket purchases made for the 2020 festival – minus booking fees.


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