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Edinburgh Fringe reports record ticket sales, but average attendance down

Edinburgh during the festival
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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has closed its most successful year with a record 1,943,493 tickets issued, up 4.6% on 2012 – and 3.5% up on the previous record in 2011.

The figures do not include attendance at unticketed free fringe events, but do include free tickets for ticketed shows. There were a record 45,464 performances of 2,871 productions.

Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: “Our loyal and enthusiastic audience has once again been treated to the most amazing cultural experience and has been both challenged and entertained by a programme of spectacular work across all artforms from all around the world.”

Ticket sales appear to have been strong around much of the event, although not all venues have yet posted their results. However, the average number of tickets issued per performance has fallen from 44 in 2012 to 42.75 this year.

Charlie Wood co-director of Underbelly told The Stage: “We’ve had a record-breaking year with a series of crescendo weekends and constant weekday business. We haven’t seen the slowing in sales that we’ve traditionally expected in the final week.”

Wood warned against comparison with anomalous sales for 2012, because of the uniqueness of the Olympics and its negative impact on ticket sales. He said that, under a seat-for-seat comparison, Underbelly’s tickets sales were 18.9% up on the five-year average.

In the New Town, the Assembly Rooms reported 121,569 attendance, a 25% increase in total ticket sales on increased capacity of 10%. The Stand comedy club, also run by Salt ‘n’ Sauce promotions, revealed ticket sales just short of 60,000 – an increase of 30% on 2012 and 20% on the previous record year of 2011.

At C Venues, spokeswoman Sheridan Humphreys told The Stage: “We have a similar number of tickets sold as last year, but with four theatres less. The phenomenal amount of tickets sold on the last Saturday of the fringe was noticeably higher than throughout the rest of the festival. That last Saturday was almost triple what we sold on other days.”

Peter Buckley Hill of the PBH Free Fringe told The Stage that attendance at the free fringe venues appeared to have increased on last year.

He said: “It’s been very positive in most venues, it seems to be up. we don’t monitor numbers and I always refuse to estimate them, but certainly many of our venues have been much busier than they were last year.”

The increase does not appear to have been across the board however. The Pleasance venues posted ticket sales of 420,000 in 2013, static on the previous year. However, they also reported a 7% increase in performances from 6,000 in 2012 to 6,400.

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