2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Ends August 28 | Playbill

Playbill Goes Fringe 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Ends August 28

The month-long festival saw more than 2.4 million tickets sold.

Heather Gershonowitz

The 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe officially ends August 28. The dates for the 2024 Fringe have been released:  August 2–26, 2024. With the wrapping up of the 2023 festival, the final tally is out for this year's Fringe. Attendance numbers are up, showing a 10 percent increase from last year's numbers. Between the 3,553 shows presented this year, 2,445,609 tickets were issued, up from last year's 2,201,175. 

The increase is encouraging, but still shows the need for further recovery; 2019's total was 3,012,490 (that year was the biggest year ever at the 76-year-old festival). A quarter of a million people attended the festival, and mostly from outside of Scotland. Festival organizers say 33 percent of those attending shows were Edinburgh locals, with 15 percent coming from the rest of Scotland and 10 percent from overseas, leaving the balance as continental visitors.

A large chunk of this year's tickets sold—more than 400,000, in fact—came from the new Fringe App for smart devices. Co-sponsored by Playbill, the app helps attendees find shows from the thousands of offerings, including a "shake to search" random show suggestion feature and location-based capabilities to identify nearby shows. The app has been downloaded nearly 80,000 times since launching in July.

The festival also tracks industry attendance. This year's event welcomed 1,359 accredited producers, programmers, bookers, talent agencies, festivals, and other industry professionals from 49 countries around the world. There were 840 accredited media attendees, which led to a 10 percent increase in reviews compared to 2023. To see Playbill's own contribution to those review, check out our Playbill Picks at Playbill.com/Fringe.

This year's festival featured 3,553 shows at 288 venues, from artists hailing from 67 countries worldwide (that tally does include cancelled shows or the same shows that played at multiple venues). Nearly 500 street performers, buskers, and street artists also got into the act for street events.

"This year’s Fringe has been one that’s felt fresh, brave, and energetic, and has sparked joy, discussion, and provocation in equal measure, tackling the prevalent issues of our times and looking at them afresh through the creative lens and ingenuity of the performing artists," says Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Chief Executive Shona McCarthy in a statement. "People come from all over the world to perform here, to see shows and to commission work. This festival remains a beacon for people to share and discuss ideas—I want to express my heartfelt thanks and admiration to everyone who makes it happen. Congratulations to the whole Fringe community of Fringe 2023; we will be relentless in our ongoing work to ensure that the Edinburgh Fringe lives up to its mantra—to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat."

Ample audience attendance is vital to the performers who take the financial gamble of bringing shows here, an endeavor that often sees artists traveling internationally, lodging themselves for the entire month, and many times self-producing their shows. 

Festival representatives say that this is the most important impact of its ticket sales. Beyond the money made, being able to bring a show to Edinburgh Fringe can provide vital and life-changing exposure to up-and-coming artists. 

The 2023 Fringe app, cosponsored by Playbill, was also a success in helping audiences buy tickets to shows and find productions to see. Since its launch in July, the app has been downloaded nearly 80,000 times, with over 400,000 tickets issued through it. Playbill will continue its partnership with the Fringe—the Playbill Fringeship will be docking in Edinburgh's seaport in 2024 and will serve as a floating hotel for the 2024 festival.

To see Playbill's complete on-the-ground coverage of the 2023 Fringe, click here.

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