Past Fringe ticket sales turned on their heads

Barely Methodical Theatre was one of 50,000 shows. Picture: Alex Hewitt
Barely Methodical Theatre was one of 50,000 shows. Picture: Alex Hewitt
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Crowds have flocked to make this year’s Fringe the biggest ever – after ticket sales smashed all previous records.

Almost 2.2 million seats have been snapped up over the last month as the Capital played host to almost 50,000 shows.

New venues were credited for the 12 per cent rise in sales compared with last year, along with improved ticketing machines and online apps.

The trend was reflected at the Edinburgh Book Festival, which saw sales up six per cent, and finished with a bang yesterday with an appearance by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Key figures from across the Capital’s festival scene today hailed the performance – which comes after the Evening News revealed last week that the extravaganza was on course to be the “biggest and best” of all time.

Tommy Sheppard, who runs popular Fringe venues The Stand Comedy Club and Assembly Rooms, said sales this year had “smashed” previous records.

The Assembly Rooms boasted a 25 per cent rise, up from 120,000 tickets sold last year to 154,000 in 2014. Around 74,000 tickets were sold at The Stand – a ten per cent increase on 2013.

Mr Sheppard said: “We are very pleased – the only problem has been the weather, but you win some and you lose some. Last year was a record year and this year has smashed it into a cocked hat, or whatever the expression is.”

Sam Gough, general manager of Summerhall, said new venues at Paines Plough Roundabout and exclusive sessions at St Giles’ Cathedral had helped sell a record 44,325 tickets – a 22 per cent increase on 2013.

Underbelly managers added they had experienced their most successful Fringe ever, both “critically and at the box office”. From its two venue hubs at Cowgate and Bistro Square, Underbelly reported a 2.8 per cent increase in ticket sales.

New venues such as St Andrew Square Garden fared well, too, recording more than 80,000 visitors.

In total, 2,183,591 tickets were sold at 49,497 performances of 3193 shows in 299 venues.

Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “It’s wonderful that after 67 years, the Fringe remains the ultimate destination to embrace the arts.”

Meanwhile, around 225,000 visitors flocked to Charlotte Square for the book festival.

Director Nick Barley said: “This has been a breathtakingly vibrant year.”