A crowdfunding campaign, live-streamed shows and a digital pick’n’mix platform are among the programme of alternative digital plans announced by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society for 2020.
The activities will support live-streamed and online versions of work from Edinburgh Fringe creatives and venues that will run from August 7-31, when the now-cancelled festival would normally take place.
The society will be also be launching a listings site that will act as a central navigation system for the various digital fringe options.
In the meantime, it has announced its own series of digital activities. These include virtual shows, a festival-wide crowdfunding campaign, artist workshops, a new online arts industry platform and a virtual Fringe Central.
Central to the society’s financial support is FringeMakers, a new platform with Crowdfunder that will help fringe artists and venues to raise funds. FringeMakers is part of the society’s ambition to help artists and venues return to the fringe in 2021 on stable footing. Venues and artists will be able to register as part of a central campaign, paying no fees and keeping 100% of funds donated.
Crowdfunder has waived all fees for the project. It will provide participants with tailored support, including dedicated webinars, how-to guides and one-to-one training for fringe artists and venues to help maximise their income.
As part of the FringeMakers programme, every registered venue and artist will have the opportunity to raise money for their own project by selling tickets to a weekly live-streamed variety show called Fringe on a Friday.
The Society’s core programme of performer-orientated events at Fringe Central has also gone virtual. An online hub will allow artists to connect and collaborate, or talk to a member of the fringe society team in real time.
There will be a series of more than 30 digital panel discussions, workshops and networking sessions exploring pertinent topics such as digital skills development and touring post-pandemic.
Wider industry themes such as the under-representation of creators of colour and how to make performances more accessible will also be explored in the series of events, which will be open and completely free to all artists.
Commenting on the launch of this year’s digital activity Shona McCarthy, the Society’s chief executive, said: "It feels hugely important that the spirit of this brilliant festival is kept alive.
"The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating for the countless artists, audiences, venues, workers and small businesses that make this festival happen every year.
"The FringeMakers crowdfunding campaign is designed to support them, while the Fringe on a Friday live show and the Fringe Pick n Mix website aim to bring some much-needed joy to our devoted audiences both here in Scotland and all over the world."
A digital Fringe marketplace will be launched later in the summer to provide a dedicated showcase platform to connect arts industry delegates all over the world with tour-ready artists who were programmed as part of this year’s fringe.
The society has also unveiled the artwork for "the fringe programme cover that never was", commissioned from contemporary artist Butcher Billy before the event was cancelled in April. It is based on the theme of ‘the heroes of the fringe’.