Fringe street events return to three key city centre sites in 2023
04 July 2023
We are delighted to announce details of the Fringe 2023 street events programme, a popular element of the festival experience. In 2022 56% of Fringe audiences watched street events performances, with iconic street scenes shared around the world across social media.
On the Royal Mile, family-friendly performers will take to the spaces of the High Street from 11:00 every day. Professional street performers from home and abroad will delight with a mix of theatre, comedy and circus skills. In busker pitches dotted around the area, magic, music and sideshows will engage with audiences, with over 500 buskers performing over the festival. Living statues will deliver a range of surprises to those wandering by, with young children enthralled by the vibrant costumes while often confused by the seemingly impossible positions and shapes they take!
In a tradition dating back decades, each day at 10:00 a street events draw will define the performances which will take place that day. A list of those performing will then be published on edfringe.com and shared across Fringe social media channels.
Working towards making the Fringe more accessible, the Fringe Society are again working with the team at Deaf Action, and BSL interpreted street performances will take place on various days throughout the Fringe, at the stage in West Parliament Square.
On the Mound Precinct this year the Fringe Society are delighted to welcome Belhaven Brewery to the festival as a new sponsor. The Belhaven team will be running a bar within this popular space, for audiences to enjoy their award-winning beers while watching nearby performers. A large circle pitch will be central to this space, for daily street performance across a huge range of artforms. The popular Taster Stage for Fringe acts will also return this year, with an opportunity for local community groups to perform over three days of the festival.
St James Quarter will once again be joining the street events programme this year following a successful debut in 2022. Supported by Essential Edinburgh, they will be showcasing Fringe artists by programming 33 busker performances during the festival.
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society, said: “The street events programme is a must-see for residents and visitors alike, when these iconic streets of Edinburgh are host to street artists and buskers from all over the world; whether they’ve been performing for decades or a first timer, the Fringe street events showcases a range of talents, skills and styles guaranteed to lift your day! Bring the family, enjoy the sights and sounds, Fill Yer Boots, and don’t forget to tip performers!”
The return of the street events programme is being supported by EventScotland (part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate), and the City of Edinburgh Council.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “As one of Scotland’s most recognisable cultural assets, EventScotland is delighted to be supporting this year’s street events programme as it gets set to transform Edinburgh’s historic streets into a vibrant playground of creative energy and diverse imagination once again.
“The street events provide a wonderful opportunity for both visitors and locals to sample a slice of something new, whilst enabling performers to showcase their incredible talent. They are a key part of Scotland’s portfolio of events and further strengthen the country’s position as a world-leading events destination”.
Councillor Val Walker, Culture and Communities Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The street events programme is one of the most anticipated parts of the Festival Fringe and I am delighted to see it return for 2023. For a month the bustling streets of the capital are transformed by buskers and artists from around the world including family friendly performers who each bring a unique and exciting performance to all who pass by.
“The programme has something for everyone so make sure to take advantage of the array of talent on offer during the festival period”.
Susan Hewlett, Brand and Marketing Director, St James Quarter said: “We are delighted to once again partner with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society by hosting a curated selection of buskers to support our ‘St James Quarter Live’ music programme in August. We know our guests love to be entertained whilst they are in the Quarter and look forward to welcoming some of Edinburgh’s best unplugged music talent to the Galleria. The Fringe is just around the Quarter.”
The street events will be delivered by Unique Events, who are managing the programme on behalf of the Fringe Society, for the third year.
Thumbnail photo credit: Bob the Amazing (2022). Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge.