Following the announcement that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will not be going ahead as planned in 2020, the Fringe Society has unveiled alternative digital plans taking place this summer, complementing a variety of activities planned by Fringe artists and venues.
Under hugely difficult circumstances, creatives from across the Fringe landscape will be bringing versions of their work to life digitally, many for the very first time. From live streamed performances to nostalgic throwbacks and community-focused events and support sessions, the spirit of the Fringe will live on in the work of thousands of Fringe artists and venues, and the Fringe Society will help audiences navigate them through a central listings service on edfringe.com.
Alongside this, the Fringe Society will be running a series of digital activities, including virtual shows, a festival-wide crowdfunding campaign, artist-facing workshops, a new online arts industry platform and a virtual Fringe Central, so there are still plenty of ways to #MakeYourFringe in 2020.
The society has also unveiled the artwork for the Fringe Programme cover that never was. Designed by celebrated contemporary artist Butcher Billy, the campaign is based on the theme of ‘the heroes of the Fringe’.
Commenting on the launch of this year’s digital Fringe activity, Shona McCarthy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive, said:
“It’s hard to imagine a summer without the Fringe. The explosion of creativity and community that the festival brings every year is unparalleled, and whilst we may not be able to provide a stage in Edinburgh in quite the same way this year, it feels hugely important that the spirit of this brilliant festival is kept alive.
“Little did we know way back in autumn, when we first started talking about this year’s programme artwork, how prescient the superhero theme would be today. We’re happy to be able to shine a spotlight on some of our Fringe heroes now, as we rally round to support the people that make your Fringe. On the other side of this, we’ll need them more than ever.
“The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating for the countless artists, audiences, venues, workers and small businesses that make this festival happen every year. The FringeMakers crowdfunding campaign is designed to support them, while the Fringe on a Friday live show and the Fringe Pick n Mix website aim to bring some much-needed joy to our devoted audiences both here in Scotland and all over the world.”
The Fringe Society and Crowdfunder have teamed up to launch a new crowdfunding platform, FringeMakers, which will support Fringe artists and venues to raise vital funds in the absence of a Fringe this year.
The artistic and creative industries have been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn following the coronavirus outbreak, with the Fringe landscape alone facing estimated losses of over £21 million. One of the Fringe Society’s core objectives is to support Fringe participants, including artists and venues, and we’ve been exploring different ways to ensure they can return to the Fringe in 2021 on stable footing.
Through the FringeMakers platform, venues and artists will be able to register as part of a central Fringe campaign, paying no fees and keeping 100% of funds donated for their own cause. Participants can offer rewards for donation, such as access to their own livestreamed shows, custom merchandise, exclusive content and much more.
Crowdfunder have waived all fees for this project, and are providing participants with tailored support, including dedicated webinars, one-to-one training for Fringe artists and venues, and how to guides, to enable them to raise as much money as possible during the month of August. The FringeMakers platform was launched on 13 July 2020.
Fringe on a Friday
As part of the FringeMakers campaign, every registered venue and artist will have the opportunity to raise money for their project by selling tickets to a weekly livestreamed variety show – Fringe on a Friday.
Fringe on a Friday is a 60-minute Fringe variety show, produced and curated by an independent production company, which will be streamed every Friday evening during the Fringe (07, 14, 21 and 28 August).
Fringe Pick n Mix
Repurposing technology from last year’s Inspiration Machine, artists can upload 60-second films of themselves in action. Viewers can pick a particular clip to watch or settle in to watch a mixed stream of continuous Fringe entertainment, with the ability to interact and comment on the videos as they play out. Audiences can show their appreciation by donating to a central artist and venue survival fund and explore additional content via their social media channels.
Virtual Fringe Central
In partnership with industry experts, Fringe Central will deliver a series of over 30 digital events including panel discussions, workshops and networking sessions, exploring pertinent topics such as digital skills development and touring post-pandemic, and wider industry themes such as the under-representation of creators of colour and how to make performances more accessible.
In the absence of a physical festival, the Fringe Society is launching the digital Fringe Marketplace, a dedicated showcase platform to connect arts industry delegates all over the world with tour-ready artists who were programmed as part of this year’s Fringe.
Comedy Central International, in association with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, is spotlighting ten rising comedians in 10 seven-minute stand-up episodes across Comedy Central International’s Facebook, YouTube and Instagram platforms, starting on 17 August.