Reimburse artists affected by loss of Edinburgh Fringe app, union says at festival

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Performing arts and entertainment union Equity has called on the Edinburgh Fringe Society to compensate performers at this year’s festival affected by the removal of the official Fringe app.

The lack of an app, which is widely seen as vital to generating ticket sales, has already been the subject of controversy, with an open letter signed by more than 1,500 artists, promoters and venues earlier this month- ci expressing dismay at the decision and condemning a lack of transparency by the Fringe Society.

Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy apologized “unreservedly” for the distress called out, but said “we had neither the necessary investment funds nor the appetite for risk, being given that we weren’t convinced that live events would even be a possibility.”

Following meetings with the Fringe Society, Equity has now requested partial refunds for artists who paid for their festival entry without knowing the app would not be available.

In a statement on Thursday, Equity for Comedians organizer Rob Lugg said, “We appreciate the Fringe Society having apologized and admitted that they were in the wrong communication regarding the removal of the Fringe app. We are also pleased to note their assurances that the “Nearby Now” feature will be available on a website properly optimized for desktop and mobile devices.

“However, after consultation with our members, we believe that the Fringe Society should go further and offer partial refunds to those who paid for their registration before the announcement that the app would not be available this year. This would be a gesture of goodwill and would help repair the damaged relationship with this year’s Fringe performers.

“The removal of the Fringe app could impact ticket sales as well as accessibility for members of the public with disabilities. This is concerning as two years of Covid restrictions have hit our members hard, and with a With the cost of living spiraling out of control, the biggest threat to the future of the Edinburgh Fringe is if performers decide they can’t afford to take part.

READ MORE: Fears for Edinburgh Fringe’s future amid falling ticket sales

Equity also highlighted other barriers for performers at this year’s Fringe, including what it describes as “exorbitant” accommodation, venue and transportation costs.

The union called the problems “systemic” and called for rents to be capped in Edinburgh and “for the theater to dig beyond”.

Responding to Equity’s announcement, a spokesperson for the Fringe Society told The National, “The Fringe entry fee covers a wide range of opportunities for artists, including lifelong support. year, workshops, events, marketing advice, access to the press list and our dedicated team every August. within Fringe Central.

“While we understand it’s disappointing that the Fringe app isn’t here in August, much of the functionality will be live on our mobile-optimized website starting next week, including navigation in the immediate vicinity allowing the public to find shows nearby at the last minute.

“Entry fees have been frozen for 15 years, with the Fringe app not coming to market until 2017. We will continue to work with sponsors, partners and artists to develop an app for Fringe 2023. We We are of course always here to answer any questions or concerns artists may have regarding their entry fees, and we encourage them to contact our team.”

On August 7, Equity will also launch its Fringe Comedians Charter, a set of standards that venues and promoters must adhere to regarding the fair treatment of comedians, including policies on pay transparency and nighttime safety.


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