Best fest yet

Fringe sells record 1.5m tickets

The Edinburgh Fringe has sold a record-breaking 1.5 million tickets this year.

Box office figures were up ten per cent on 2006 – but the growth in the number of shows means that several productions still suffered low turnouts.

Fringe director Paul Gudgin used the conclusion of this year’s Fringe to repeat his calls for more official backing for the festival, which is facing fierce competition from other festival cities.

He said: ‘It is now time for Edinburgh and Scotland to acknowledge the value of the festivals and act to safeguard their future. The City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Executive must match the ambition shown by 17,000 performers.’

The Underbelly venue was hailed as the biggest winner, with ticket sales soaring 35 per cent and the success of its £300,000 ‘upside-down cow’ venue, The Udderbelly, opposite the Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Dome in Bristo Square.

Assembly Rooms director William Burdett-Coutts plans to ask the council to close off George Street next year to help counter the Fringe's shift to this part of town.

It has also been mooted that a ‘tented city’ of cheap accommodation be set up in central Edinburgh, possibly on the Meadows, to attract more younger festival-goers who might otherwise be tempted to music events such as Glastonbury or the Carling Weekend.

Published: 29 Aug 2006

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