Cheap comedy venture fails

End of the line for Five Pound Fringe

The Five Pound Fringe – aimed at lowering the ticket prices at the Edinburgh Festival – has been dropped after just two years.

The venture has been axed because of mounting costs and uncertainty over its main GRV venue, which has been put up for sale.

More than 70 shows were programmed across ten venues last year, with their £5 ticket price being around half that charged by most shows at the ‘big four’ venues. Although it sold around 17,000 tickets a year it faced stiff competition from the burgeoning number of free shows on the Fringe.

Comedy promoters Lisa Keddie and Jon Briley set up the enterprise, but Briley’s company Best Medicine made a loss running it. Keddie left the company in October to set up her own management and promotion firm, Kedcom.

A Five Pound Fringe spokesman said: ‘Despite the success of the Five Pound Fringe, Jon had to subsidise part of the costs – and with the sale of the GRV, it was only going to get more expensive for it to run.’

The Five Pound Fringe was dwarfed by the 558 free shows staged at last year’s fringe, mostly under the aegis of rival promoters Peter Buckley Hill and Alex Petty.

Petty’s Free Festival has today opened applications for performers who want to take part in this year’s Fringe, on the basis that they will not be charged for a venue, but can only take income from a voluntary collection at the end of each show. Click here for details.

Published: 2 Jan 2011

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