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Performers complain after fringe ticketing app scrapped

More than 1,600 producers, comedians and agents have signed an open letter, accusing organisers of the world-famous Edinburgh fringe festival of a series of perceived management failures, including scrapping the event’s mobile ticketing app.

The letter – signed by major acts such as Joe Lycett and Jo Caulfield – also blamed organisers for what they said was a lack of transparency, and additionally failing to help with rising accommodation costs and reduced train services.

Pax Lowey, the chair of the Live Comedy Association (LCA), which coordinated the letter, said that organisers only revealed there would be no ticketing app and no half-price ticketing huts a few days ago.

“Until this week, the messaging was this year would be [back to] a big normal fringe, and then all of a sudden we learn of the lack of an app and the half-price huts,” Lowey told the Guardian. “It really does feel like it will be a 50% year.”

Shona McCarthy, the chief executive of the Fringe Society, said that the ticketing app had only been used by 7% of attendees, and required a total overhaul that the festival could not afford at this point.

She also expressed disappointment that the LCA had publicised the concerns before talking to her first.

“Normally, you would expect people to talk to you first, to reach out and to kind of ask the questions before going into that sort of nuclear mode,” she said. “[Our] modus operandi is to collaborate, be collective, collegiate with people, to get the best results.”

She added that the fringe had been forced to make difficult decisions due to a range of factors, including staffing issues.

This year’s festival is expected to feature nearly 3,200 shows as it celebrates its 75th birthday.

“I genuinely think it’s nothing short of a minor miracle that it’s here, that we’ve got to this point, and it should be a day of celebration,” she said.

Image: Kilyan Sockalingum on Unsplash