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Edinburgh Festivals return

World leading festivals begin bounce back from impact of COVID-19.

Edinburgh’s world-leading summer festivals are back, with their recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic supported by more than £5.4 million from the Scottish Government.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe opens today (6 August), followed by the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), with the Edinburgh Art Festival already open.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival will open a new chapter in a new venue on August 14, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival will welcome audiences from August 18.

The Scottish Government’s Gateway process has also allowed a small number of flagship events with national significance to take place in 2021, with limited numbers of spectators and subject to health advice, and both the EIF and the Fringe will stage events as part of the process.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture Angus Robertson yesterday said:

“Edinburgh’s festivals are back – a significant moment for these landmark, world-leading events, and for our nation’s capital.

“The festivals were sorely missed last summer, and their return is a major step in the right direction as well as testament to the determination of festival organisers, along with the artists, venues and businesses involved.

“Already a huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to support the return of these globally significant cultural events and the benefits they bring to Scotland for our culture, for tourism, for trade and our place on the world stage.

“I’m delighted to welcome the Edinburgh Festivals’ return and see the world’s leading festival city come back to life in 2021.”

Chair of Festivals Edinburgh Sorcha Carey yesterday said:

“The support of the Scottish Government and its agencies has been crucial to the very survival of our world-famous festivals, and we’re deeply grateful. 

"All those who’ve worked tirelessly and are now able to manage a careful restart will be delighted to reconnect the people of Scotland with the live culture they’ve so badly missed. 

“We want to support the vision of the First Minister and her team that culture will be at the heart of recovery, and we look forward with hope that Edinburgh’s peak festivals season can mark a turning point for Scotland’s culture sector.”


The Festivals collectively have received funding since the start of the pandemic in grants from the Scottish Government, including EXPO and PLACE funds over two years, Covid emergency funds and one-off targeted grants.

The five August festivals have collectively received £4,096,146 of Scottish Government grant funding since the start of the pandemic through repurposed EXPO and PLACE funds, over 2 years.

In addition, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society received a £1 million interest-free loan in 2020, a one-off grant of £81,000 for festival resilience, emergency funding grants worth £149,000 through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and £150,000 through the Pivotal Events Businesses Fund.

Individual companies and producers, especially Fringe producers, have also had access to many relief funds for their operations, with Assembly Rooms, Gilded Balloon and Underbelly each receiving £150,000 from the Pivotal Events Businesses Fund.

More information on how the Festivals are planning a safe return can be found online here:


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