Fringe sells 1.7m tickets

New record for Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Fringe sold a record 1,697,293 tickets this year, organisers have announced.

The figure represents a 10.8 per cent increase on the 2006 box office.

The number of ticketed shows – excluding the Free Fringe – has risen by only five per cent in a year.

But the number of discounted tickets has also soared, with the half-price ticket hut reporting a 47 per cent increase in business.

Some Fringe veterans have this year complained that the festival has grown too big – especially the comedy section – and of the quality of the acts who perform.

But new Fringe director Jon Morgan saud: ‘Ultimately the Fringe is a self regulating festival. If audiences and artists continue to come to Edinburgh the festival will continue to grow, with 2007 being a good example of that. ‘To suggest I should have control over the size of an open access festival is wrong, and against the principles of the Fringe.’

Individual venues also reported a successful year.

Tommy Sheppard, director of The Stand comedy club, said ticket sales were up about 13 per cent on 2006.

‘Every show bar one is making money for the artist,’ he told The Scotsman. ‘The Fringe is a huge economic boost for Edinburgh but it would be even better if more was produced by local venues.’

Charlie Woods, co-director of the Underbelly, added: ‘My sense is it's been a fantastic year. Our ticket sales are up 25 per cent on last year. By the end of the second week, we had sold the same number of tickets as we had by the end of the festival."

However, he said the Fringe needed to work harder to attract 18 to 35-year-olds. ‘With that audience, what we are competing with are the UK music festivals,’ he said. ‘You can buy a ticket all-in for around £200, whereas we reckon four days in Edinburgh will cost £600 all-in.’

Gilded Balloon spokesman Fraser Smith said; ‘We've had a great year. The building has been busy from ten in the morning until 3am.’

However, William Burdett Coutts, of the newly-expanded Assembly operation, has said he expects to record a loss in 2007.

Earlier in the Fringe, he said: ‘Even great shows, with great reviews, have not been getting the crowds. It's the first time I have felt there are too many shows in Edinburgh.’

Fringe 2007 featured 31,000 performances of 2,050 shows in 250 venues, with an estimated 18,626 . A total of 304 shows were free.

The Fringe sells more than twice as many tickets now as it did a decade ago.

Published: 27 Aug 2007

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