The price of hype

New assault on Fringe costs

Edinburgh Fringe ticket prices are soaring to fund an “orgy of hype and promotion”, according to one comedy promoter.

In his annual rant against the commercialisation of the festival, Tommy Sheppard of The Stand comedy club, said the rising costs hit both performers and comedy fans.

He has produced analysis of prices at the city’s top seven comedy venues, which shows at £7.30 a ticket, The Stand is more than a third cheaper than the most expensive – The Assembly Rooms.

The results were:

The Stand: £7.30
C venues: £8.42
Smirnoff Underbelly: £8.70
Gilded Balloon: £9.07
Pleasance: £9.60
Pod Deco: £10.50
Assembly Rooms: £11.25
Tommy Sheppard said: “Prices are being forced up to pay for a level of promotion that is clearly over the top.

“Poster campaigns of rain forest proportions and armies of publicists scrabble to get a bigger share of a finite audience and attract the attention of a limited number of reviewers and producers.  
“We’ve known for years that the people who suffer in this highly competitive environment are the performers themselves who stand to leave town owing thousands to their promoters. Now it’s clear that the public are the losers too as they are asked to put their hands in their pockets to fund the hype.

“It really doesn’t need to be this way. No performer has ever lost money at this venue.”

The Stand isn’t even the cheapest comedy venue on the Fringe. Sweet at the Royal Mile works out at about £6.47 average, nothing at Café Royal is over £7 a ticket – and at Laughing Horse at the UCW Club, all shows are free.

On the other side of the coin, Ross Noble, pictured,at the EICC is £16 a seat - but at two-and-a-quarter hours, longer than the bulk of Fringe shows.

Published: 9 Aug 2004

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