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A fire-eating performer at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Photograph: David Monteith Hodge

The Edinburgh Festival has been cancelled (for the first time ever)

By
James Manning
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First Glastonbury 2020 was cancelled, then Eurovision. Now another keystone of the world’s cultural calendar has fallen: the Edinburgh Festivals.

Normally dominating the Scottish capital for the whole month of August, both the main Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe have been called off for 2020. So have three more events that run in parallel: Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. It’s the first cancellation since the festival started in 1947.

Needless to say, this is big, sad news for millions of audience members and tens of thousands of performers from all over the planet. As well as being essentially bigger than Christmas for the UK’s comedy and theatre scenes, Edinburgh is the world’s largest annual international event. (The festival’s organisers claim only the Olympics are bigger. Not surprisingly, they’re also cancelled for 2020.)

Although Edinburgh Council has committed to honouring or rolling over all the grant payments assigned to its cultural partners for 2020, the festival’s absence will make the city feel very different this summer. See you back there in 2021!

Get your theatre fix digitally instead with these brilliant plays streaming online.

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