August 15, 2022
Edinburgh’s ‘extremely inflated costs’ anger artists as festivals return

The return of Edinburgh’s summer arts festivals after the disruption of a two-year pandemic has drawn warnings from many participants over the rising cost of living in the Scottish capital.

Nearly 1,700 actors, comedians and producers due to attend the Fringe Festival – the world’s biggest arts festival on Friday – have been hit by “extremely inflated housing costs” and other expenses, as inflation heads toward double digits. has been ,

“People are really concerned about affordability, cost and whether they’ll have an audience,” said Shona McCarthy, chief executive officer of the Fringe Society. It runs concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Scotland’s creative economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. While overall Scottish GDP fell 10.6 percent in 2020, the arts, culture and entertainment sectors – including museums, libraries, gyms and sports facilities – fell 40.7 percent.

The arts sector’s GDP has bounced again – in April this year it was about 5 percent bigger than in February 2020 – but the mark still remains.

Shona McCarthy
Shona McCarthy: ‘People are really worried about affordability’

McCarthy apologizes to artists who wrote last month Due to a lack of communication over his decision not to redevelop an app, his warnings about a cost he used to sell tickets for shows in previous years – which he had cost him £100,000. to warrant.

She said the budget decisions were made in December 2021, at which time Scotland was in lockdown and the Fringe was not guaranteed to return, adding that the main complaints from the artists about the cost of accommodation were beyond the control of the organisers.

“The risk in any given year is mostly borne by the cast,” McCarthy’s deputy Lindsay Jackson said. “For two years without any festivals and for many of them” [performers] With no income – their area was illegal for a year – the tension, stress and anxiety are greater than ever. ,

Despite the tension, organizers and artists alike are hopeful that the spontaneity and spirit that characterized past years will return this summer.

All festivals were suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic and last year they moved to a hybrid model, allowing events to be held in person and online screenings.

As festivals return to a full schedule for the first time since 2019, organizers are trying new ways to attract visitors by slashing prices and offering free screenings of some of the most popular shows.

At the book festival starting in mid-August, viewers will be able to choose how much they pay to feature the likes of Fife-born author Ian Rankin, famous for his Inspector Rebus novels and Marlon James, the first Jamaican. Win the Booker Prize.

Reginald D Hunter
US comedian Reginald D. Hunter will appear at the Fringe Festival © Matt Krasick / Alamy

The film festival’s creative director, Christy Matheson, hopes the event in August during the main festival – it was traditionally held earlier in the summer – will “make cinema part of that larger cultural festival” in the city.

Many visitors are drawn to the upmarket international festival because of its opera and theater shows, tickets to which can be purchased for as little as £10 this year.

About 35,000 tickets will be awarded for events throughout the international festival, including performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra, as it attempts to broaden its appeal.

At the “alternative” Fringe Festival, which was started by theater groups cut out of the international festival and is now the star attraction, artists will showcase snippets on the social media site TikTok.

Its roster includes US comedian Reginald D Hunter, best known for his appearances on the BBC TV program Have I got news for you, Along with lesser known up-and-coming acts.

Fergus Linehan: ‘I’m happily amazed at how quickly things are coming back’ © Jane Balo / PA

Fergus Linehan, the international festival’s outgoing director, said: “I’m happily amazed at how quickly things are coming back.”

“It’s weird that it’s going to be so big, that from there it’s going to be side-by-side. We’ve pushed digital as far as our brains will allow at this point,” he said.

According to its director Nick Barley, the book festival managed to break even during the pandemic by shifting to a hybrid model.

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh International Book Festival

Barley said its occurrences were seen four times in every country around the world – Nicaragua, the Central African Republic, North Korea and Cuba. This year, about a third of its 600 programs will be streamed online.

“The city needs to rediscover that love of live atmosphere, which is the talk of the festival,” he said.

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