The 2020 Dunedin Fringe Festival has been cancelled.
The cancellation was announced late on Tuesday night by Fringe Festival director Gareth McMillan, after meeting with the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust Board.
“With the arrival of the outbreak within Dunedin, we feel this is the best option,” Mr McMillan said.
“We have recommended that all independently produced events under the Fringe umbrella also cancel their scheduled performances and exhibitions.
“We’re devastated for our community.”
The Dunedin Fringe Festival is one of the largest arts festivals in the country and represents thousands of hours of work by more than 750 creative practitioners.
As contractors, they would be “severely impacted”, now and in coming months, along with the wider sector including technicians, venues, suppliers and everyone who relied on a vibrant entertainment industry, Mr McMillan said.
“As an organisation, we will do whatever possible to support arts practitioners through these challenging times, including offering the limited financial resources we have available.
“During this temporary time of [physical] social distancing we believe connectedness is more important than ever.
“Therefore, we are investigating ways of hosting a digital fringe festival to enable a gathering’ and create an opportunity to raise money for affected artists,” he said.
Additional information will be released as plans develop.
Mr McMillan thanked all of those who had bought tickets for supporting the Fringe Festival.
For cancelled events, the ticket provider will contact ticket-holders and offer them the opportunity to be refunded.
“Alternatively, people may choose to donate this back to the artist and we encourage this option if at all possible,” he said.
In the event that an independent event chooses to proceed or reschedule, it might be possible to transfer existing tickets to this event, with further details to be made available.
“We’d also like to take the opportunity to thank all of our funders and supporters.
“This is not the 20th birthday party we had planned but the Dunedin Fringe will be back next year and it will be better than ever.”