Performers slam rising costs after being 'priced out' of fringe festival

Scottish TV star and campaigner, Gail Porter, revealed she was 'priced out' of performing at the festival.

Jason Manford and Gail Porter both took to social media to slam the price of accommodation during the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

The Edinburgh Festival, which runs throughout August, sees millions of tourists descend on the capital city to see a range of performers.

The increase in popularity of the festival in recent years paired with the ongoing cost of living crisis has seen accommodation prices skyrocket.

Comedian, Jason Manford, highlighted the issue on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying that after working out costs for one week of accommodation he would still operate at a loss.

The 42-year-old said that even if every one of his shows at the festival sold out he would still be losing out financially.

The comedian said that the situation was “slightly different” for him given the that the show is part of a bigger tour but expressed concerns about new performers covering the costs.

“My worry is how are we getting to see new performers and hearing new voices if the only people who can do it are people with money or backing! It’s pure greed,” he wrote.

It comes after TV star and campaigner, Gail Porter, revealed she was “priced out” of performing at the festival due to accommodation costs.

The Edinburgh born 53-year-old took to social media to inform fans that although she was “excited” to return to the stage in Edinburgh this year, she will not be able to perform.

“My home town. I feel so sorry for new young performers that won’t be able to afford accommodation.

“I’m gutted Edinburgh has done this. Greed is awful,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival responded to Porter saying they are “doing what they can to find solutions” for artists.

Edinburgh City Council leader Cammy Day said: “We need to get the balance right. This is the world’s best and largest collection of arts festivals we are talking about and of course that comes with exceptional demand for accommodation in the month of August.

“After the impacts of Covid on our local businesses and economy, the buzz of the festival season is welcome – but we do need this tourism to be sustainable, accessible, and work for everyone.

“For four weeks of the year, everyone wants to stay in Edinburgh, of course they do, and we welcome visitors and performers with open arms.

“But we also have people living here all year round, a growing population which needs a place to call home and a large student population. We need to strike a fair balance between our tourism and housing pressures.

“We had to declare a Housing Emergency late last year due to our chronic shortage of affordable homes and we’ve introduced Edinburgh’s short-term lets control area, which is already returning holiday homes to their primary use as residents’ homes.

“We’re not stopping homeowners from renting out a spare room and we’re seeing new hotels open all the time which expands the accommodation options Edinburgh has to offer.

“Recently I met with the Minister for Housing who will provide further guidance. The Council may then wish to consider policies around specific areas like home swaps and home letting.

“We’re also well on our way to becoming the first city in the UK to formally introduce a Visitor Levy when the legislation allows, and we’re keen to reinvest this towards the continued viability and quality of our cultural offering and back into our city.

“The whole city needs to work in partnership to address issues like affordability for artists and the sustainable growth of the festivals.

“That’s not something the Council alone has control over. So, we have a citywide tourism management strategy in place and a Festivals Vision, both of which require real partnership and active collaboration.

“We’ve seen the Fringe launch a fund to distribute bursaries to artists and performers which Is very welcome and will hopefully make a difference.

“Central areas will tend to command higher prices, but Edinburgh is a small Capital city, it’s incredibly well connected and welcoming and there are accommodation options in all our amazing communities which are worth exploring.”

Edinburgh Fringe Festival has been contacted for comment.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code