Euan McGrory: The real secret behind the success of the Fringe

Like A Sturgeon: Edinburgh drag queen Ripley is heading for the Fringe
Like A Sturgeon: Edinburgh drag queen Ripley is heading for the Fringe
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It promises the usual eclectic mix of the bizarre, the banal and the brilliant.

The trick of course with the Fringe - and a huge part of the fun - is trying to work out which is which. This summer’s programme announced today is full of its trademark inspired nonsense. A musical tribute to Formula One star Lewis Hamilton? Check. A drag queen impersonating Scotland’s First Minister? Check. Donald Trump reimagined as King Lear? Check.

One thing that will go largely uncommented upon as the programme is poured over by critics and prospective ticket-buyers is the true secret of the Fringe’s success in recent years. What is it that allows the festival to continue defying the normal rules and keep growing and growing year after year? Artistic innovation? A growing world-wide profile? The answer is no to both.

The biggest reason that the Fringe has mushroomed in size is the way in which we - the city’s year-round residents - have taken it to our hearts. Once considered ‘not for the likes of us’, we now account for almost a quarter of all Fringe ticket sales. Together we snapped up 600,000 last August. After years of indifference (affected or otherwise), we have finally fallen in love with the Fringe.