The Fringe Society has announced the first lineup details for AJ Bell Fringe on Friday – a 60-minute Fringe variety show and fundraiser, made possible thanks to the generous support of online investment platform AJ Bell

This new digital show will stream every ‪Friday during the Fringe (07, 14, 21 and ‪28 August‬) and will showcase a snapshot of the festival across a range of genres, including comedy, cabaret, dance and music. Each show will feature nine different acts and will go out live at 9pm, with tickets costing £9 (£1 less than the cost of the average Fringe ticket). 

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The broadcast has been brought to life by Scotland-based cultural producers Lucky Cat and Michael Fraser, and production company Inner Ear. The first show will be hosted by Suzi Ruffell, with Nigel Ng, Jayde Adams and Courtney Act also confirmed to host later editions.    

Further acts confirmed so far include Abandoman, Magical Bones, Daniel Sloss, Fern Brady, Briefs, Bernie Dieter, Craig Hill, Michael Odewale and Sadia Azmat. The full line-up for each show will be announced the Wednesday before the Friday broadcast. 

AJ Bell Fringe on Friday is a key part of the FringeMakers campaign, a Fringe-wide fundraising initiative that has been developed in partnership with Crowdfunder. This new, zero-fee platform is designed to help Fringe artists and venues raise vital funds in the absence of a physical festival in 2020. Artists and venues keep 100% of the proceeds from tickets they sell, plus any donations made to their own campaigns. Several artist and venue fundraising campaigns are already underway, with more to follow over the coming weeks.  

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: "The closer we get to August, the more we're all feeling the physical absence of the Fringe in Edinburgh. For so many creatives across the festival, this loss is compounded by the severe financial impact of the Fringe not going ahead as planned. With help from our partners AJ Bell and Crowdfunder, FringeMakers is a way to support those artists and venues and to help fund their future. They are the festival and we need to rally around them. 

"As a thank you for donating, audiences will be able to access AJ Bell Fringe on Friday - a cabaret show capturing the spirit of the Fringe. It's great to see this snapshot of the festival come to life and the lineup is truly a reflection of the wonderful talent this festival is known for. This will complement the vast array of digital offerings Fringe artists and venues have been working on over the past few months, details of which will be available through our website.  

"I'd encourage everyone who loves the Fringe to engage with the shows, donate to individual projects and get behind our amazing FringeMakers, to help ensure the artists and venues that make your Fringe every August return stronger in 2021." 

Jayde Adams, Comedian and Fringe on Friday host, said: “I’m delighted to be hosting one of the Fringe on Friday live shows. I’ve experienced how valuable the Fringe can be for an artist’s career, from my Best Newcomer nomination back in 2016, to releasing last year’s show as a comedy special, and I’m excited to bring some of that Fringe energy we’ll all be missing so much this summer. 

“This is a great way to keep supporting the wonderful artists and venues that come together each August, so get behind your favourites on FringeMakers and enjoy the show.” 

Andy Bell, Chief Executive, AJ Bell, said: “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been an iconic arts and cultural event that gives established and emerging artists the opportunity to showcase their talents and hone their performances. It has always been a truly inclusive celebration of creativity, arts and culture that is famous around the world. COVID-19 has dealt a hammer blow to the entire sector but as the saying goes - the show must go on.  

“It’s great that the Fringe Society has not been deterred and will be going digital for 2020 and everyone at AJ Bell is very proud that we are supporting it. We are delighted to see the creative thinking of the team bring to life the AJ Bell Fringe on Friday and the AJ Bell Fringe Pick N Mix – initiatives that will bring joy to audiences in the UK and around the world, whilst at the same time raising much needed funds for the performers, venues and creative businesses that have been hit so hard by the pandemic.” 

Simon Walker, Head of Projects, Crowdfunder, said: “We're absolutely delighted to have created the Crowdfunder platform behind FringeMakers. It's clear that venues and the arts industry have been hugely impacted over the last five months and as a result the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will this year look like no Fringe before it.  

“It's fantastic to be weaving Crowdfunder’s technology into the Fringe 2020, where it's being used to provide support to Edinburgh's venues and Fringe performers by connecting with audiences and raising much needed funding.” 

About FringeMakers: how it works 

Fringe fans can buy tickets for each AJ Bell Fringe on Friday show through individual artist and venue fundraising pages, with 100% of the proceeds going to the artist or venue in question. They will also be able to buy tickets from the Fringe Society, with all money raised going towards a central artist and venue recovery fund, which has already been boosted thanks to the support of AJ Bell. Funds will be circulated to artists and venues at the end of this year’s festival, with an independent panel deciding on how the money is distributed.  

Individual Fringe artists and venues can create their own a page on the dedicated FringeMakers platform. These pages are a space for participants to share their own stories, connect with their audiences and offer tailored rewards (from exclusive merchandise to their own online content and unique experiences). All participants can set their own rewards for donation in addition to selling access to the AJ Bell Fringe on Friday broadcast. Participants keep 100% of the ticket cost sold from their page. 

Crowdfunder have generously waived all fees for the 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. 

You can find more detail - including a range of artist and venue fundraising campaigns - by visiting the FringeMakers website.