Updated: Apr 20, 2020
As of today, the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival has been called. I, a resident of Edinburgh, believe the festival has had an increasingly worse impact on the city, however, its cancellation could be catastrophic to those who financially depend on it.
Local businesses rely on the festival months. Unique shops, small family cafes, and large local restaurants all rely on the large intake in profits throughout August. This means that, for many people, they won’t get most of their annual income. Therefore, the cancellation of the Edinburgh Fringe could be catastrophic to people and businesses. With the already loss of profits due to established restaurants across the city shutting due to Corona, these poor owners are going to be put in major financial difficulty, something which I don’t think was 100% considered when deciding to cancel the festival.
In addition to businesses struggling, acts across the world rely on the festival. First of all, as a source of income through ticket revenue. However, most importantly, they rely on publicity and getting scouted by major TV corporations to help further their career. The majority of acts don’t make money from the festival itself, instead they usually lose money then hope to make it up as their career progresses later on. So these acts aren’t getting the opportunity to be ‘scouted’ by corporations such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and so their careers may suffer as a result.
For the environment, this could be the necessary break that the city needs to recover. With the summer festivals and Christmas celebrations growing in size and visitors every year, it’s clear that Edinburgh is suffering. The previously beautiful Princes Street Gardens has had countless trees removed and grass flattened by Underbelly taking control of the city’s top tourist spots to make more money. Not to mention the amount of paper that is wasted throughout the month as every flyer handed out eventually gets thrown in the bin.
Despite the environmental relief that the festival not taking place this year will give the city of Edinburgh, the financial impact will be horrific. With the Easter break quickly approaching, the lack of tourists in the city is already having an impact on small businesses, and this will make an already awful situation even worse for so many people. Whether Underbelly, Virgin Media, or the other large investors will introduce financial support to these key features of the festival is unlikely, which is extremely unfortunate and unfair for so many.