From the darkness comes light for the Festival City:
After the longest shut down of the Scottish Arts Industry in history, as we all move slowly but surely to unlocking and embracing a better summer ahead. Two of the Edinburgh festivals have announced there plans to return in August 2021. It’s important to acknowledge these won’t be the festivals of old that we have come to love and cherish, these will be festivals for the covid world. We must embrace them as we chart our course back to full normality for our Theatres and the arts industry. So, let’s check out what’s been announced thus far.
The Edinburgh International Festival 2021:
The EIF team have announced a reimagined Festival for 2021, marking the return of live performance to Scotland’s capital city after over a year of silenced theatres and concert halls. Taking place from 7 to 29 August, the 2021 International Festival will use bespoke, temporary outdoor pavilions in iconic, easily accessible spaces throughout the city to safely reunite artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of live performance.
Specially constructed temporary outdoor pavilions, found at three locations including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad, will feature covered concert stages and socially distanced seating to create a beautiful setting for audiences to safely enjoy live music, opera and theatre once more.
The health and safety of the entire Festival community is at the heart of the announced plans for this year’s festival. The EIF are working with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and other relevant authorities to implement appropriate Covid safety measures. These will include shorter performances with no intervals, physical distancing, regular cleaning and contactless ticketing. They will publish full details of security and safety measures in the coming months.
While the EIF are looking forward to the prospect of bringing the Festival City to life once more, they appreciate that not everyone will be able to attend performances in person this year. To ensure that everyone can enjoy a slice of the magic, wherever they are in the world, they will release a selection of high-quality streamed performances, free of charge, during each week of the Festival.
Since Edinburgh’s summer festivals in 2020 were officially cancelled a year ago, The EIF have received extraordinary support from so many people. As Festival Director Fergus Linehan says, “We are hugely grateful to the artists who have agreed to come on this journey with us, the stakeholders, donors, and sponsors who have stood by us through a tough year and our audiences who have cheered us along throughout. We look forward to sharing full details of the programme in early June.”
Full details of the 2021 programme, which spans opera, orchestral and chamber music, theatre and contemporary music, will be announced on Wednesday 2 June. Priority booking for International Festival members opens on Tuesday 1 June before general booking opens on Friday 11 June
For more details go to: www.eif.co.uk
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021:
The Fringe Society have announced that show registration for Fringe 2021 will open on Wednesday 05 May. Artists and venues will be able to register Fringe shows right up until the end of the festival. The Fringe’s world-class programme will be available to browse and book at edfringe.com, with tickets going on sale for audiences in early summer.
As Scotland navigates its roadmap out of lockdown, much is still unknown about what the Fringe will look like this August. However, a range of scenarios are being prepared for, from socially distanced live events to digital offerings.
The Fringe Society is supporting artists and audiences to find and book work online across a range of platforms, including the brand-new Fringe Player. This online platform aims to bring some festival magic into homes across the world, while providing a secure platform for artists, companies and venues to host their shows. The platform is available to any registered 2021 Fringe show or venue to use if they wish.
Any live performance registered as part of the 2021 Fringe will be expected to adhere to public health guidance from the Scottish Government. Audiences can search, browse and buy tickets to both online and in-person work through edfringe.com. More details on individual shows and Fringe 2021 will be available in early summer.
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Fringe Society, said:
“We’re delighted to be able to open registration for 2021. Of course, we’re still very much in planning mode as we await further updates from the Scottish Government, but this feels like a hugely positive step in the right direction.
“Through the work being created across the various digital platforms, including the Fringe Player, artists have a brilliant opportunity to reach audiences and communities all over the world. I look forward to seeing how our Fringe creatives use these platforms in 2021 and beyond.”
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will take place from 06 – 30 August 2021. For more details go to: www.edfringe.com
The announcement from the EIF and Fringe follows on from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo who released tickets for sale for this year’s production in October of 2020. The arena at Edinburgh castle will be socially distanced with additional safe checks in place. There is no word on their programme as yet, however as soon as we get word, we shall pass it right along.
These announcements are a huge sign of light at the end of a very dark tunnel, and while these planned events will be nowhere near the traditional events, we have come love during August in the festival city. It’s a starting point, a starting point that’s a long time in coming.