Featured News

Accommodation costs blamed as Fringe sales slump

Rising accommodation costs have been blamed after a total of 2.2 million tickets were sold for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe – 26.7% down on the most recent pre-pandemic edition of the festival in 2019.

The total number of shows across the Fringe, which finished on Sunday, dropped by about 12% from 3,800 to 3,334. Approximately three million tickets were sold for the 2019 festival.

Meanwhile, sales at Edinburgh’s eight biggest venues slumped by almost 25% this year.

The venues, which marketed their shows under the EdFest.com banner, blamed “the soaring cost of accommodation in Edinburgh in August” and added: “Audiences and artists alike are being priced out of town, out of experiences.”

A spokesperson for the city’s biggest venues told Chortle: “Disruption with public transport, delays with artist visas, and high fuel costs are even more insurmountable when people and performers simply cannot afford to stay in the city…

“Given the extent of the reduction in sales the overall festival has a major job to do in restoring the event to normality, which may take several years and require some public support.”

The figures do not take into account the distribution of free tickets.

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

The letter 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.

Image: Kilyan Sockalingum on Unsplash