Liam Rudden: Bargain Fringe

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IT has, by all accounts, been one of the busiest Fringes for years, so far, but that bubble appears to have burst at the start of the week.

Where the pavements thronged with tourists, visitors and locals like at the weekend, Monday saw a sea change with bars deserted, venues scraping around to attract audiences and a distinct lack of bustle in the streets.

Consequently, there are a lot of bargains to be had this week on the Fringe.

Or so it would appear.

Having knocked the whole celebration of ‘the arts’ back a week this year, to allow the dates of the International Festival and Fringe to coincide, a lull seems to have formed.

It’s reflected in the emails I’m receiving. Offers of free tickets (“We’d love to invite you to bring friends to see ‘insert title of show here’).

And you only have to look at Twitter and Facebook to see that there is a host of 241 deals, discounts and even giveaways.

The Half Price Hut at the foot of The Mound is also doing a roaring trade right now and well worth a visit if you are looking for a bargain.

It’s amazing what you’ll find there, including some of the best shows on the Fringe.

This new ‘third week’ of the Fringe is uncharted territory in many ways. Kids shows particularly have been affected - the schools have been back for two weeks now, killing the local market they rely on.

That aside, there really is no rhyme nor reason for ticket patterns at the moment. From 135, to 101, to 6 (incidentally, the average Fringe audience according the Edinburgh folklore). It’s bizarre.

Of course, as the week goes on things will undoubtedly pick up again, especially with a bank holiday weekend ahead.

So if you want a bargain get in quick. As for the later dates of the Fringe... the jury is out for now.