Edinburgh’s summer festivals cancelled due to coronavirus

Capital's big five annual arts festivals won't go ahead this year for the first time in their history.

Millions of people travel to Edinburgh every summer for the capital's festivals.
Millions of people travel to Edinburgh every summer for the capital's festivals.

Edinburgh’s summer festivals have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fringe, International Festival, Jazz and Blues Festival, Book Festival and Military Tattoo announced their plans on Wednesday.

It’s the first time the festivals have been cancelled in their 70-year history.

In a widely expected move, Edinburgh’s council leader said it “was a profoundly difficult decision”.

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Tens of thousands of performances take place in the capital every summer in what is widely believed to be the biggest event of its kind anywhere in the world.

Artists and audiences visit Edinburgh each summer from across the world, and with travel restrictions in place indefinitely to fight Covid-19, organisers had no choice but to pull the plug.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “It’s heartbreaking that the Fringe and our sister August festivals will not take place as planned this summer.

“However, having taken advice and considered all the options, we  collectively believe this is the only appropriate response.”

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Council leader Adam McVey said support would be offered to the cultural sector.

He said: “This was a profoundly difficult decision– leaving a massive gap in our Capital – but clearly it was the right one.

“Our thoughts are very much with all those fantastic artists, writers, performers and organisations who were working so hard to prepare for another busy festival season.”

Councillor McVey added: “We’ll continue to work with all of our citizens, colleagues and stakeholders to do everything we can to make sure we come through 2020 and look forward to again bringing the world to Edinburgh and Edinburgh to the world for our summer festivals in 2021.”

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