Fringe spectators and acts are ‘overpriced’ Edinburgh, festival venues warn

Ticket sales for Edinburgh Fringe shows have fallen by a quarter from 2019, it has been revealed, as its major venues warned that soaring accommodation costs in the city were putting the future of the event in jeopardy.

In 2019, before the pandemic closures, Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s eight main production venues sold 1,965,961 tickets, but projected ticket sales fell 25% in its first full year to just 1. 486,746.

A spokesperson for EdFest.com said the slump in sales was a “major threat to everyone involved with the festival”, and blamed it in part on train strikes, rising cost of the life and lingering effects of the coronavirus.

“Chief among them, however, is the spike in accommodation prices in Edinburgh in August – audiences and performers are out of town, out of experiences,” the spokesperson warned.

“It is clear to anyone spending time in Edinburgh that there are fewer people in the city this year than in 2019.

“While there are certainly other factors that have affected audience numbers this year, the cost of accommodation is an ongoing issue across the board.

“Disruptions to public transport, delays with artist visas and high fuel costs are even more insurmountable when people and artists simply cannot afford to stay in town.”

It’s not uncommon on the Fringe to see desperate calls on community Facebook groups from people asking to use a free room because other options are too expensive, and there have been reports of hotels nearly doubling their prices. price per night during the festival.

Big names such as Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Friends star David Schwimmer, comedian Eddie Izzard and Dame Emma Thompson have seen the Fringe advance their careers.

But EdFest.com, which is made up of venues Assembly, Dance Base, Gilded Balloon, Just the Tonic, Pleasance, Summerhall, Underbelly and Zoo, said while decent housing isn’t just an August issue “it’s imperative that local and national government, owners, universities, Fringe venues and the Fringe Society all come together to find a lasting solution to this problem, or the future of the Fringe is in very real danger”.

“In the long term, we also need to find solutions that allow the festival to be affordable for artists and audiences alike,” said an EdFest.com spokesperson.

“Given the extent of the reduction in sales, the festival as a whole has major work to do to bring the event back to normality, which may take several years and require some public support.

“We need to stabilize the current situation where many people have suffered significant losses; resolving the housing issue; find ways to support the work; and a major marketing campaign to bring audiences back to the festival.

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