Scottish Government
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Supporting Edinburgh’s festivals

COVID-19 funding to aid cultural recovery.

Producers and venues have been awarded £1 million to support the safe return of live events at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe.

The Scottish Government funding will help to create outdoor performance spaces and mitigate the additional costs faced by producers due to the pandemic.

It has been distributed between the Edinburgh International Festival and nine Fringe producers alongside a further £300,000 from City of Edinburgh Council.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson yesterday said:

“Edinburgh’s festivals are a highlight on the international cultural calendar and were sorely missed last summer. I am determined to do everything within my power to support the return of these globally significant events and the benefits they bring to Scotland in terms of tourism and trade.

“Although this is an important step towards normality, the huge impact of the pandemic is still widely felt across our festival and events sector as well as our cultural sector more widely.

“Recovery will take time, but this additional funding from the Scottish Government and Edinburgh City Council for a number of established Fringe producers and the Edinburgh International Festival will help organisers respond to some of the ongoing challenges they face.

“This is the latest in a wide-ranging package of support the Scottish Government has made available since the start of the pandemic across all of Edinburgh’s Festivals which now totals approximately £6.5 million.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, City of Edinburgh Council Culture and Communities Convener, yesterday said:

“Last year we pledged to continue our support for Edinburgh’s culture and events sectors, in particular through our funding programmes which have contributed to the retention and, as far as possible, stability of the sector.

“The resourcefulness and resilience displayed throughout the crisis to date by this sector has been amazing and through this additional funding we aim to further support their 2021 offering. The value to this city's economy and the wellbeing of our citizens cannot be underestimated.”

Executive Director of Edinburgh International Festival Francesca Hegyi yesterday said:

"This support is hugely appreciated in a year when the International Festival is pioneering the return to live performance in Scotland following the pandemic, which requires careful planning and places safety as a top priority.

“Three outdoor venues are core to those safety measures and this funding will go directly towards the costs of those pavilions which we hope will lift the spirits of a country ready to embrace culture and live performance."

Oh behalf of Gilded Balloon, ZOO, Traverse Theatre and Dance Base, Katy Koren yesterday said:

"We are delighted to have been awarded funding to create a new festival hub celebrating the best of the Edinburgh Fringe and supporting local artists.

“After a fallow year for the Edinburgh Festivals in 2020, we are determined to bring safe events and performances back to the city centre this August in a unique new collaboration.

“We are all very grateful for the support of the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and EventScotland – this project would not have been possible without them.”


The Scottish Government’s flagship events programme is supporting the return of internationally significant events. Previous flagship events include EURO 2020 and the British & Irish Lions v Japan test match for the 1888 Cup.

Funding proposals from Fringe producers were reviewed by the Scottish Government, EventScotland and City of Edinburgh Council.

Funding awarded:

Operator (s)

Funding awarded



Gilded Balloon, Zoo, Traverse Theatre, Dancebase






Space UK






The Scottish Government has also provided:

  • £2 million to be invested in Edinburgh and Glasgow's major arts festivals in 2021/22 through the continuation of the EXPO fund
  • £1 million in 2021/22 through the Edinburgh Festivals Platform for Creative Excellence Programme
  • a £1 million interest-free loan to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, as well as a further £81,000 grant, to ensure their resilience and develop their digital and ticketing platforms
  • funding for individual festival companies and producers through Scottish Government relief funds


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