News: Question Mark Over Edinburgh Fringe 2021

News: Question Mark Over Edinburgh Fringe 2022

The Edinburgh Fringe may not return in its traditional form for at least another year.

A story in The Scotsman wonders if some kind of social distancing rules may still be in place next summer, so that even if the Fringe returns next year the structure could be different. 

If the two-metre rules are still in place there will be difficulties making indoor gigs, particularly those in small rooms, viable for performers, production crews and audiences.

Festivals Edinburgh, it is reported, envisages a hybrid of some live events but also digital events in 2021 which fans can watch online without coming to the city. 

The Scotsman reports that at a recent online international events conference, Oliver Davies, head of marketing and development at the Fringe Society, said: "The difference between two metre and one metre social distancing made the difference for some venues between breaking even or making a small profit, and having absolutely nobody in the space at all. How you plan that becomes quite a challenge.

"Looking to the future, the honest answer at this stage is ‘who knows?’ I don’t think any of us have a crystal ball for where this is going to go."

There is also a question of whether comedy fans will want to crowd into small spaces even if social distancing is no longer in place.

The best hope may be if a vaccine is available to everyone by the summer of 2021. Some sources are optimistic but others warn people not to be too hopeful. Even if there is a vaccine it will have to be produced in huge numbers for there to be a chance of a return to some kind of normality, which will take time.

Picture: © Dessau

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