High Street set to host Covid-secure programme of street performance throughout August.

The world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe street events will return in 2021 with a scaled-back programme of live performances. 

The Fringe Society is working with independent Scottish event company Unique Events to ensure that this iconic, vibrant part of the Fringe is delivered effectively and securely, thanks to generous support from the City of Edinburgh Council and EventScotland.

A fantastic starting point for any Fringe-goer, events will run daily from 11:30 until 20:30 in the High Street’s designated Fringe Safe Street Performance Area, West Parliament Square.  

A variety of street performers are expected to take part daily, with the programme running from 06 – 29 August, as well as additional opportunities for buskers and other street artists well known in the Fringe landscape. 

Performers can apply to take part from Monday 26 July, with more details on the process to be made available on the street events page of edfringe.com.

All performances will be delivered in accordance with current and relevant Covid guidelines. Events will be programmed daily, with event details published online to audiences in advance to allow them to plan. 

Limits on audience numbers will be introduced in line with social distancing, and strict hygiene measures will be in place, including masks and sanitisation, to help everyone enjoy the events safely.

Performances on Saturday 21 August will be BSL interpreted, and sanitised sensory backpacks are available to borrow free of charge for autistic children and adults. There will be an accessible area for wheelchair users.

More details on activity in the Mound will be announced in the run up to the Fringe. 

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:

“It’s always incredible to see Edinburgh’s historic streets transformed by live performance, and I’m thrilled that the cobbles will come alive with creativity once again this August. Our thanks to the City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland and Unique Events for helping to make this happen.

“Our absolute top priority will be making sure these events are as safe and secure as possible, for Fringe-goers and performers alike. Covid mitigation plans are built into everything we’re doing, and we will always work to the latest government guidance to ensure audiences can enjoy this programme of world-class outdoor entertainment safely this August.

“As August grows closer, I’m so pleased that we’re able to support this vital group of performers. Since the 1960s, street performers and buskers have provided fans and families with a special way to enjoy the Fringe. It is down to their professionalism and dedication that we all get to enjoy this spectacle of live and unique entertainment, and I’m delighted they’re able to return.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Communities Convener, said: 

“Live performance and street theatre are part of the Capital’s cultural DNA and we’re very proud to support the safe return of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next month. It will be fantastic to see the city’s streets hosting exciting entertainment again, and a real tonic for all of us who’ve sorely missed the fun and variety of Edinburgh at festival time due to this dreadful pandemic.

“We’ve been consistently impressed by the cultural sector’s resilience and resourcefulness throughout this crisis and I’m delighted that their hard work to organise safe and Covid-secure events for 2021 will be rewarded by the return of festival audiences this summer.”

Paul Bush, OBE, EventScotland, Director of Events, added: 

“We are delighted to be supporting Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society to ensure the safe return of live street performances at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

“Covid-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for the events sector, so it’s heartening that in 2021 there will be an opportunity for both performers and audiences to once again enjoy and experience elements of the world’s most vibrant and iconic arts festival.”