Industry News

Local customers boost UK festival ticket sales

Local customers are still proving to be a major driver of ticket sales for the UK’s biggest festivals, according to the latest figures.

Edinburgh’s main festivals are heavily reliant on local ticket sales, according to new research compiled by the umbrella body, Festivals Edinburgh, and published by the city council.

Meanwhile, Radio One’s ‘Biggest Weekend’ is taking place in Swansea’s Singleton Park over two days in May, with more than 175,000 tickets available to the public. As was the case last year in Hull, when the bulk of tickets for the ‘Big Weekend’ were geographically weighted in favour of people with a local postcode, the majority of attendees this year will have secured tickets from a postcode in the Swansea area.

The internationally-renowned Edinburgh Fringe has the lowest local uptake of tickets in the city, despite its significantly higher total sales. Meanwhile, the report shows that more than two-thirds of tickets for the Edinburgh International Festival are sold within Scotland.

The Edinburgh Book Festival rakes in 80 per cent of its box office from people in the city, with the film festival logging nearly 75 per cent of tickets from Edinburgh.

The Fringe sells 26 per cent of its tickets overseas, with 22 per cent being sold in Edinburgh.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Fringe, said, according to the Scotsman newspaper: “Now in its 71st year, it’s encouraging that the Fringe remains at the heart of cultural life here in Edinburgh, across Scotland, throughout the UK and all over the world.

“In 2017, we issued more than 600,000 tickets to Edinburgh residents, engaged with nearly 40 per cent of Scotland’s population and hosted participants from 62 countries, including 814 Scottish companies.

“The Fringe is for everyone and, alongside paid-for shows, our street events gave hundreds of thousands of local residents and tourists a free taster of some of the world’s most extraordinary performances.

“We also gave away £50,000 worth of free passes to families and individuals via charities across Edinburgh, allowing many locals to engage with the festival for the very first time.”

The Tattoo has the largest international audience, which makes up more than half of its box-office takings, with only one in five of its tickets sold in Scotland.

Image: Festival Fringe Society