Edinburgh Fringe Becomes First Tap-to-Tip Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Street Performer Wilf Keys Magic (Matthew Keys) With The iZettle Reader
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Street Performer Wilf Keys Magic (Matthew Keys) With The iZettle Reader | © Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
Tori Chalmers

Scotland’s beloved Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest celebration of arts and culture in the world, just became the first ever ‘tap-to-tip’ festival. In keeping with our tech-savvy times, a brand-new kind of contactless tipping technology is set to help the droves of talented street performers and audiences who flock to the city each summer.

A genius collaboration, the Festival Fringe Society partnered with leading fintech company iZettle to create the world’s first-ever contactless tipping festival.

Here’s how it works: By using either wearable or contactless technology, street performers at the Virgin Money Street Events will now be equipped with iZettle Readers so that Fringe-goers can tip as they please with a simple tap.

By securing a fixed amount (for example £2 or £3), performers can use the newly released iZettle Repeat Payments feature, allowing for a flow of continuous contributions, even while they are still performing.

The managing director at iZettle UK, Edward Hallett, said: ‘More than 70% of iZettle’s payments in the UK are contactless. Using our Repeat Payments feature at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe removes the manual payment process for artists, making tipping easier for the audience and performers alike.’

This is a gamechanger for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it keeps the age-old art of street performing alive. In recent years, handfuls of Fringe performers from all corners of the globe have reported a significant drop in tips simply because people don’t carry as much change as they used to.

Super Scott (Scott Hutchison) at Edinburgh Festival Fringe with the iZettle Reader

On the subject of society’s increasingly cashless mentality, Edinburgh Fringe performer Super Scott said: ‘Until now I’ve relied on cash contributions from audiences, and I have definitely noticed a dip as the number of people carrying cash has decreased. The introduction of iZettle Readers at the Fringe is really exciting, futureproofing street performance and offering audiences an additional method of payment when showing their appreciation.’

Edinburgh Festival Fringe performer at Virgin Money Street Events

Another bonus is the convenience aspect for both parties, and of course, it’s a refreshing way to show appreciation without the painfully awkward hassle of rummaging around for some change – we’ve all been there!

Adding to that contagious Edinburgh carnival spirit come August, the Virgin Money Street Events portion forms a large part of the Fringe’s unique and inclusive flair. Everywhere you look, performers and artists of all kinds bring a splash of sunshine with their unbridled talent.

To ensure a seamless run, six ‘tap-to-tip’ stations will grace the Royal Mile events space for this year’s Fringe. Meanwhile, talks are underway to continue the partnership for years to come.

Contactless tipping comes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Street Events manager, Andy Meldrum, said: ‘Our street events are open to anyone and attract performers from all over the world. Artists rely on the generosity of the general public who stop to take in their shows when passing through our street event arenas.’

He added: ‘Whilst cash contributions have worked for street entertainers for hundreds of years, we need to respond to the changing circumstances, which are affecting street performers all over the world. Our partnership with iZettle is set to ensure our performers continue to get the support they deserve.’

A view of Royal Mile High Street during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
landscape with balloons floating in the air


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