Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 11:24 UK

Ticket sales up as Fringe begins

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Fringe - High Street
Thousands of performers are "dying" to get their Fringe shows noticed.

Advanced ticket sales for this year's Edinburgh Fringe are up more than 20% on 2007 at 395,000, figures show.

Last year's box office fiasco led to a slump in sales for the three-week festival and unreliable statistics.

However, a combination of "staycation" holidaymakers and people wanting to make sure they get tickets early have led to sales being ahead of 2007.

The Fringe, which runs until 31 August, includes 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 venues.

Latest figures show 395,000 tickets have been sold before the event begins compared with about 320,000 two years ago.

By the end of the 2007 Fringe, a record 1.7 million tickets had been sold.

The theatre is amazing and there is nothing like the feeling you get when the curtain goes up at the start
Idle Eric, Portsmouth,

Organisers hope on the door ticket sales throughout the festival can take this year beyond that figure.

The programme for the 63rd Edinburgh Festival Fringe features almost 19,000 performers, with shows from 60 countries including comedy, music, theatre, musicals, opera and dance.

It runs from 7-31 August and includes famous names such as Clive James, Julian Clary, Christopher Biggins and cricketing legend Henry Blofeld.

Fringe acts 2009

Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh City Council festivals champion, said: "Year on year people predict the Fringe has peaked, but this is the evidence that it's not the case.

"And given the past problems with the ticket system last year, to have bounced back in such a fashion lays testament to the resilience to what is the world's biggest arts extravaganza.

"Everyone keeps saying the Fringe will go in a downward spiral so this trend is fantastic news for the city.

"There is evidence that more people are staying in the UK for their holidays and there is no better place than Edinburgh in August, no other city can compete."

Neil MacKinnon, Edinburgh Fringe Society's head of external affairs, said: "All the indications in terms of ticket sales and numbers look very positive and we are cautiously optimistic that this years Fringe will be one of the best and one of the biggest."

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Festivals' Cavalcade, which runs on Sunday, is being moved to Holyrood Park to avoid tram works in the city centre.

The capital's annual parade is being amalgamated with Fringe Sunday, in a one-off temporary move.

Traditionally the parade travelled through Princes Street.

Are you at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? Send your pictures of the Fringe to, text them to 61124 or you have a large file you can upload here.

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