Fringe Society must compensate performers for failure to provide app

Following recent controversy around the absence of an official Edinburgh Fringe App, we recently met with The Edinburgh Fringe Society to discuss the concerns that members have raised with us.

Rob Lugg, Equity’s Organiser for Comedians, says: “We appreciate that the Fringe Society has apologised and acknowledged that they got the communication badly wrong regarding the removal of the Fringe app. We’re also pleased to note their assurances that the 'Nearby Now' function will be available on a website that is properly optimised for both desktop and mobile devices.

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

“The removal of the Fringe app could impact ticket sales as well as accessibility for disabled audience members. This is concerning as two years of Covid restrictions have hit our members hard, and with an out of control cost-of-living crisis, the biggest threat to the future of the Edinburgh Fringe is performers deciding that they cannot afford to take part.”

Performers face obstacles at Fringe Festival

Beyond this issue, performers are facing numerous obstacles at this year’s Fringe Festival. This includes extortionate – and rising – accommodation, venue and transport costs. We believe these problems are systemic and can only be addressed by working together collectively. For instance, by coming together to lobby for rent caps in Edinburgh and for digs beyond. We are therefore calling on comedians and performers across the country to join the union and work to build collective power to transform the industry.

Launching our Comedians’ Charter

We will be launching our new Comedians’ Charter at the Fringe, comprising a set of standards for venues and promoters to sign up to, ensuring the safety and fair treatment of comedians. These include policies on pay transparency and late-night safety. The launch will take place at a to-be-announced comedy venue in Edinburgh on Sunday 7 August.

Equity members who wish to attend the launch should contact rlugg@equity.org.uk. Press should contact press@equity.org.uk.