Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021: how will the Edinburgh Festivals be different this year?

Members of the all-female cast from the show "Move", Julia Taudevin (c) Nerea Bello (L) and Mairi Morrison (r) pose for photographs at Silverknowes Beach

As with many large scale events in 2020, the Edinburgh Fringe was cancelled. However, 2021 marks its return.

The festival looks to begin in the coming days but some aspects of the event will be a little bit different to normal.

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The unpredictable nature of Covid and the government guidelines that surround it have made large functions very difficult to organise. This year the Fringe has adapted to the current circumstances by combining in-person performances with live and on-demand online shows.

How many Fringe shows will there be?

In 2019 almost 4,000 different shows were performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. Unfortunately this year’s number of productions is vastly reduced.

However, with over 400 in person productions and around 250 online shows over the course of this August, the Fringe still offers variety regardless of the pandemic’s effect.

From children’s shows to spoken word poetry, music, dance and of course comedy, the Fringe spans many cultural realms.

If the performing arts are not for you, various food workshops, crafts exhibitions and city tours are also on the menu.

Arthur Parsons (left) and Adam Fullick, of experimental acrobatic circus company Barely Methodical Troupe, who star in the hit show Bromance, at George Square Gardens in Edinburgh

Will there be new outdoor venues?

Although no performances will be taking place at iconic Edinburgh locations such as the Meadows and Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, this year will feature a number of new venues.

These new venues include the triple spired St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh’s West End and the top of Castle Terrace multi storey car park which looks onto Edinburgh Castle.

Other noteworthy venues include Silverknowes Beach and the Ukrainian Community Centre on the Royal Terrace.

Can you watch performances online?

Both scheduled and online shows are available to watch from the comfort of your own home.

Tickets to both priced and free productions are available through the Fringe website where details of how to view each show are explained.

What Covid19 safety measures are being put in place?

All tickets for performances during this year’s Fringe will be electronic to avoid hand to hand contact.

Additionally, face masks will be mandatory in crowded areas and hand sanitiser stations will be set up around venues. One way systems may also be in place.

The Edinburgh Fringe shop and ticket office on the Royal Mile

How can you book tickets to shows?

Tickets for performances can be purchased via the Fringe website. On the site you can browse all available shows and decide which take your fancy.

Which other events are taking place this August within the festival?

There will be an array of events taking place in the Scottish capital.

Over most of the duration of the month the Edinburgh International Festival will be taking place. The ‘original Edinburgh festival’ will showcase a wide spread of creative performances from across the world.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Book Festival will also get underway later this August. Through film premieres and author Q&As, both of these events aim to share stories from Scotland and across the world.

Another big event happening in the city this month is the Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival. Here attendees will be able to enjoy refreshing pints from over 30 different breweries whilst listening to live music and having a bite to eat.

What will the weather be like in Edinburgh this August?

Expect a mixed bag of weather. This is Edinburgh in August, after all.

The long term forecast predicts a combination of sun, rain, wind and cloud, so prepare wisely if you are heading to an outdoor event.

Will the fireworks concert take place?

Despite its popularity with locals and tourists (if not local pets), the Festival Fireworks Concert will not be taking place this year.

However during the opening nights of the Edinburgh International Festival there will be lights displays, illuminations and music taking place in the city’s Botanic Gardens.

What are the dates for each of the festivals?

  • Edinburgh Art Festival: 29 July - 29 August.
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe: 6-30 August.
  • Edinburgh International Festival: 7-29 August.
  • Edinburgh Book Festival: 14-30 August.
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival: 18-25 August.
  • Film Fest in the City: 19-25 August.
  • Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival: 20-21 August.

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