From its establishment in 1947, the aptly named Edinburgh Fringe was intended to act as a more eccentric rival to the main International Festival.
Now every August more than 55,000 performances of over 3,500 shows take place in some 300 different venues.
The magnitude of planning for such an event takes the rest of the live long year, for a month in which the entire city of Edinburgh is transformed almost beyond recognition. For the first time in its history, the festival has now been cancelled amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is believed that over the duration of the Fringe, the population of Scotland’s capital doubles to over one million people. Those who know the difficulty of finding Fringe accommodation will already have booked months in advance. With the current uncertainty surrounding cultural events, spending substantial sums on an event unlikely to occur seems ill-advised.
In the words of Mark Monahan, dance critic for the Telegraph, “Its cancellation this year is terribly sad for its huge, adoring public: the final and heftiest nail, it feels, in this year’s cultural coffin.”
However, he recognises that as much as the cancellation of Scotland’s cultural event of the year impacts the audiences, it is “a closer to a tragedy for all the writers, producers, actors and comedians who’d doubtless been hoping that Edinburgh 2020 would yield their big break.”
In spite of the cancellation of the event, Monahan believes that if the nationwide lockdown is no more, individuals will perform in the streets of Edinburgh regardless. Time will tell whether or not his prediction is correct.