Can we increase access to the Fringe without making costs rise too? | We asked Edinburgh comedians about the supply-and-demand pressures

Can we increase access to the Fringe without making costs rise too?

We asked Edinburgh comedians about the supply-and-demand pressures

Encouraging more people to perform at the Fringe will increase demand on accommodation, which is already at crisis point, and won't get cheaper if more performers want it. How can those competing pressures be balanced?

We need an Olympic village for performers, with shuttle buses to town centre. Cardboard beds so we don't make too much love., Chris Grace: As Scarlett Johansson, Assembly George Square, 1:40pm

I am new to the experience, but it seems crazy to me how exponentially people were permitted to expand this festival. I would have thought there might be a lottery system which might mean people could go only every other year to keep the number of shows at a more manageable level. I think as long as the spirit of the fringe is kept, reducing venues and acts by at least a small percentage has to be the way forward
Abigail Paul: Involuntary Momslaughter, Greenside Riddle's Court 6:35pm

I am from India so, I find this question comical
Anu Vaidyanathan: Blimp, Underbelly Bristo Square, 7:15pm

There needs to be government intervention of the cost of short-term accommodation during the festival. One possibility; The festival could provide temporary housing in buildings that are otherwise unoccupied, removing the pressure of normal short-term leases and helping reduce the need, thus driving prices down. Potentially even allowing artists easier opportunities to meet each other and network.
Matt Harvey: Wage Against The Machine, Canons' Gait, 8:15pm

A military coup. Shoot everyone (not violently) with a four star or below show. Only the five stars will live and the rent will come down or reviewers will be kinder. Do you want blood on your hands Chortle?
Alison Spittle: Soup, Monkey Barrel Hive, 1:35pm

A lot of comics will have to start befriending locals. There are 554,000 residents of Edinburgh, so more than enough friends to go around.
Benjamin Alborough: Absolute Monopoly, Assembly George Squae, 5:50pm

Half of the fringe happens on the University premises: The greatest profiteers from the Fringe is likely the University. Therefore the Fringe Society would be well within their rights to ask Edinburgh Fringe to provide accommodation for a reasonable price to performers and only performers to keep the heart of the fringe alive. There are 2,000 rooms alone at Pollock halls. Some will perhaps be rented by students living through the year fully, but not all.  There are 45 halls of residence at the University of Edinburgh. 
Raul Kohli: Full Inglish, City Cafe 4.55pm

I don't know. There could be a cap on accommodation costs, or the Fringe Society could bulk purchase housing and offer it to performers at a reduced fee. I also think very established acts should perhaps consider not performing at fringe, and there should be a cap on returning shows.
Michael Kunze: Infinity Mirror, Laughing Horse at Three Sisters, 11am

Make subletting legal for a month?
Alex Kitson: Fired Up! Ready to Go!, The Mash House, 7:30pm

It can't. Market forces will speak for themselves. That being said, I know that several organisations work with the university halls and accomodation and this is where some performers could go. The Fringe is in crisis point every year and yet it still goes on. I love it!, George Zacharopoulos: Wonderland, Pleasance Dome, 8:30pm

Normalising shorter runs will help, staggering the presence of performers and minimising the financial burden and risk, especially for people coming up for the first time. I think the Fringe Society needs a sliding scale registration rate - at the moment you don’t save any money doing 2 weeks, for example.
Kathy Maniura: Objectified , Gilded Balloon Teviot, 4.40pm

I think there needs to be many creative solutions. Maybe one solution is billeting. Here in Canada, most of our Fringes offer billeting, where the Fringe pairs performers up with residents who have offered up a spare bedroom for the fest
Anesti Danelis: This Show Will Change Your Life, Underbelly Bristo Square, 3:55pm

I don't think we should be encouraging more people to perform. It feels like it's been turned into a huge cash cow. Obviously, it needs to be financially successful, but the growing size is pushing costs even further
My Last Two Brain Cells, The Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 9:40pm

More creative and access friendly thinking is required. Everyone wants to make money but so often it's the talent that foots the bill for this. Isn't it enough that they give up a month of their lives to perform every day without it having to cost them a bomb for the privilege. The local authorities and big promoters could be a bit kinder in their approach
iaran Bartlett's Machine Gun Of Filth, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 10:30pm

I think the answer is all acts can only do one week max. In 2021 I did a split bill with Paddy Young. The festival was much reduced because of Covid. Because we were doing one week, and there were barely other acts there was enough audience to go round. We sold out every day, 120 people, with no flyering. We were amateurs finding performing to rooms of people usually reserved for the big acts at the festival.  Keep the number of audience high, reduce the amount of shows on effectively by 75 per cent – all acts spend less on rent. Everyone's a winner.
Adam Flood: Remoulded, Monkey Barrel at The Hive 3:20pm

Maybe some sort of vetting process so that everyone and their mother can't just come do a show at the Fringe. But wait... maybe then I would get refused...? Help! I don't know the answer!
Schalk Bezuidenhout: Keeping Up, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 5pm

Published: 5 Aug 2023

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