Attendance Is Up at 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 1,000,000 Tickets Sold So Far | Playbill

Playbill Goes Fringe Attendance Is Up at 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 1,000,000 Tickets Sold So Far

As the festival nears its halfway point, early data is showing encouraging recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

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The 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe has sold 1,000,000 tickets so far, a feat considering that the event is currently nearing its half-way point (the festivities end August 28). The Fringe Society, which supports artists participating in the festival, is calling it a moment of "optimism" for an event that is still in recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with most arts endeavors worldwide.

The Fringe was forced to cancel the 2020 event. It returned in 2021 in a significantly reduced iteration. Programming was somewhat back to normal for 2022, but attendance continued to show room for recovery. The event normally brings upwards of three million people to Edinburgh during the month-long theatre festival, making it one of the Scottish city's most important economic drivers and a cultural landmark. The Fringe Society is heartened by this year's numbers, but stress that the festival still has much to do in its continued recovery.

Festival goers have also been using the Playbill co-sponsored Fringe App for smartphones, which representatives report has been downloaded over 55,000 times. Along with a comprehensive guide of the thousands of shows performing at the festival, the app includes innovative features that connect attendees with nearby performances as well as shows that match their interests. Users can also leave things up to fate and shake to search to be connected with a random offering.

Attendance is vital to the performers who take the financial gamble of bringing shows here, an endeavor that often sees artists traveling internationally and lodging themselves for the entire month. 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. Along with finding new audiences and media attention, festival artists are able to visit The Fringe Central Artist Hub for invaluable networking. This year's hub, housed at Quaker Meeting House, has already welcomed hundred of artists to the space.

“Last autumn when we reviewed the challenges facing the 2023 Fringe, we entered this year with uncertainty about what this summer would look like," shares Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Chief Executive Shona McCarthy. "Despite the current cost of living crisis, audiences have jumped straight into the Fringe program and are exploring performance across every genre. With the average ticket price less than £12, it is the artists and venues who have worked tirelessly to ensure the Fringe is accessible as possible. I encourage you to continue to support this important event, book more tickets and Fill Yer Boots with everything this extraordinary festival has to offer."

This year, Playbill is in Edinburgh for the entire month in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!

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