Joint Edinburgh Fringe Street Events Charter 


This charter has been co-created by the Street Performers’ Council (representing the wider street performance community) and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

The purpose is to outline a shared purpose and commitment between both parties. 

A group of street performers smile and wave at the camera.


In 1999, the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) asked the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society to manage the street performance spaces in the Old Town; this was to be done in the interests of public safety and include event management, audience management and respect for residents. The Society’s role is to facilitate, support and raise money to deliver the street events; CEC does not financially support the Society to provide this service. 

The Society recognises that street performance is a vital part of the Fringe and wants to ensure it can continue.

Photographer (title card): David Monteith-Hodge (2019)

Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge (2019)

A woman plays the violin with an audience watching.

Joint Charter 

The Charter for Street Performers outlines a set of values shared by the Fringe Society and the street performing community, as represented by the Street Performers’ Council. This will act as a set of overarching principles for decision making and outlining commitments for both parties both now and the future. These values cover areas including valuing artists; artists’ collective voice; diversity and equality; mental health and wellbeing; social responsibility; and health and safety. 

For the purposes of this document: 

  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society will be referred to as EFFS
  • the Street Performers’ Council will be referred to as SPC (but will be distinct from the wider street performance community) 
  • the City of Edinburgh Council will be referred to as CEC. 

Photo: Daniel Zindler (2019)
Photographer: David Moneith-Hodge

A man juggles knives and axes in front of a crowd.

Valuing street performers and partnership 

Commitments from EFFS 

  • EFFS will work with street performers and CEC to protect, to the best of its ability, the use of the historic street performing circle and busking pitches at: 

the Royal Mile 

West Parliament Square 

Mercat Square  

the Mound Precinct.  

  • EFFS commits to providing a registration service for street performers including artist advice and support (covering areas such as visa processes for international performers) through its Artist Services team. 
  • EFFS will ensure any third party delivering the street events understands the terms of the Charter and agrees to working within these parameters. 

Commitments from street performers 

  • Street performers understand that the historic street performance sites are shared spaces within the public realm; the continued use of these spaces is not guaranteed and requires ongoing negotiation and collective thought and work. 
  • SPC will communicate with EFFS as the convening body of the wider street performing community and revert to EFFS on all issues and matters that relate Fringe Street Events Shared commitments 
  • We have mutual respect for the important roles we each play in ensuring the Edinburgh Fringe is the best performing arts festival in the world, for artists and audiences alike.  
  • We will work in partnership towards a renaissance of the street events in 2022 and beyond, as part of an overall Fringe renaissance. 
  • We will work together to identify and explore the feasibility of any new pitches within the licenced Fringe footprint.   
  • We will work in partnership to ensure street performers’ needs, as well as those of funders / sponsors and CEC, are met. 
  • We will collaborate on developing a clear process to manage any grievances or disputes. 

Indicators of success 

  • Clarity and joint agreement of obligations for both street performers and EFFS. 
  • Clear processes and procedures for communication. 

 Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge (2019)

A child stands on a street performer who is lying on the ground in mock pain.

Artists’ collective voice 

Shared commitments 

  • EFFS and SPC will meet at regular intervals (three to four times per year) to establish robust communication and monitoring of all issues relating to street events in Edinburgh. 
  • SPC and EFFS will work together to ensure any corporate partnerships share our collective values and bring genuine added value, benefit and resource. 

Commitments from EFFS 

  • EFFS will work to ensure that any changes to the street events, which may arise as necessary by direction from CEC or government, are approached with full consultation and engagement of street performers. 
  • Where possible EFFS to ensure that any street performers featured in images or videos used by EFFS are credited appropriately and in consultation with SPC. 

Commitments from street performers 

  • Street performers will maintain a council of representatives (SPC) from the street performer and busking community as a means of communication, consultation and engagement with EFFS. SPC and its members will be publicly visible on so street performers know who represents them. 
  • SPC should have a fair and transparent process for electing its members; this process should be communicated to EFFS. 
  • SPC members will:  

play an active role in representing the street performance community 

embody the breadth of variety of street performance to ensure positive, practical and robust representation 

act as a conduit of information between EFFS and the wider street performance community 

take ownership over outcomes and be responsible and answerable to their community. 

  • SPC will work with EFFS to celebrate Fringe milestones such as the Fringe’s 75th anniversary. 

Indicators of success 

  • Street performers' voices are heard. 
  • Street performers have input at early stages of key developments or projects. 
  • Street performers have a clear route of communication with EFFS. 

Photo: Logy (2019)
Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge

A man prepares for a street performance in front of a crowd of people

Equality, diversity and inclusion 

Commitments from street performers 

  • Street performers will support EFFS’ commitment to accessibility at the Fringe. 

Shared commitments 

  • EFFS and street performers will work together to ensure the street events remain open access and free for all to join, removing barriers to participation wherever possible. 

Indicators of success 

  • Recognising and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion through general and creative practices. 
  • Recognising and promoting accessibility for artists and audiences. 

Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge (2019)

A couple stand in front of a sign which says 'accessible viewing area'.
A BSL interpreter stands on a plinth translating a performance

Mental health and wellbeing 

Shared commitments 

  • EFFS and street performers will develop a plan to align with current support services used by artists who register shows at the Fringe. 

Commitments from street performers 

  • SPC to nominate Mental Health First Aiders for August. 

Indicators of success 

  • Create and demonstrate effective processes in supporting street performers throughout the year and during the festival. 

Photo: Josh Phillips (2019)
Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge

A man stands on stilts holding hoops as a crowd watches.

Social responsibility  

Shared commitments 

  • EFFS and SPC will establish a working group with CEC departments for Public Health, Licensing and Events. Meetings will be regular and allow for a dedicated debrief of the previous year and planning for the next season. 
  • SPC will work with EFFS to understand more of the wider picture of the Fringe and reach a broader range of audiences. 

Commitments from EFFS 

  • Artists contracted for any performances arranged or facilitated by EFFS will be paid in line with Street Performer Union rates. 

Commitments from street performers 

  • Street performers will support and commit to working towards EFFS’ commitment to sustainability. 

Indicators of success 

  • Develop a space to engage with community stakeholders. 
  • Street performers will be paid for networking and sharing their skills. 
  • Shared commitment to sustainability. 
  • Engagement with a wide range of audiences. 

Photo: Su Hamilton (2019)
Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge

Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge (2019)

Someone balances on multiple objects while juggling knives.
A man with clown make up and a bowler hat speaks into a microphone.


Health and safety  

Commitments from street performers 

  • All artists who register with EFFS will ensure they have the relevant public liability insurance and licencing where relevant. 
  • Street performers to meet health and safety requirements as set out by CEC in event licence. 

Indicators of success 

  • Providing safe and healthy environment for artists. 

Photographer: David Monteith-Hodge (2019)

Children sit and clap while watching a performance.