Fringe sales up

Punters defy rain and Olympics

Ticket sales at the Edinburgh Fringe were up more than five per cent on last year, according to official figures.

Despite appalling weather, and the alternative attractions of the Olympic Games, a total of 1,251,997 tickets were sold for the three-week festival, which ended yesterday.

However, anecdotal evidence suggests many comedy shows suffered worse ticket sales than expected.

The rise in the number of venues, including the Pod Deco and more spaces at the Pleasance, including the 700-seater Grand and two smaller rooms, meant fringe-goers were spread over more shows that ever before.The 58th festival featured 15,629 performers in 236 venues.

Fringe director Paul Gudgin said: "In a year when we competed against some poor weather and what became a fantastically popular Olympics, it showed that the Fringe could battle through whatever happened."

 "When we started the festival, the headlines were completely dominated with Hollywood star Christian Slater's appearance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. By the end everyone was talking about Perrier Comedy Award winner Will Adamsdale, who is one of the most exciting new talents in the world but was almost unknown at the start of the Fringe."

Ticket sales were strongest in the first two weeks, with the usual sell-out final weekend less impressive.

The Stand Comedy Club experienced a rise of 38 per cent in audience numbers on 2003, thanks in large part to former Perrier winner Daniel Kitson performing there.

The Smirnoff Underbelly reported a 29 per cent increase in its box office takings.

Published: 31 Aug 2004

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