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Edinburgh Fringe ticket sales reach 3 million for first time

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More than three million tickets were issued at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with more residents from the city attending than ever before.

The number of tickets issued for shows broke the three million barrier for the first time, with 3,012,490 sold across this year’s festival. This is the highest amount ever, the Fringe Society said.

More than 3,800 shows were presented at the fringe this year, with a total of 250,000 attendees.

Of these, 56% came from Scotland’s capital, with Edinburgh residents purchasing 856,541 individual tickets.

The ticket sales figures represent a 7.6% increase on last year, the seventh successive annual increase.

Edinburgh Fringe records increased ticket sales for sixth year running

Despite the overall rise, not all venues experienced a box-office boost.

Underbelly’s ticket sales dipped by 1% – to 417,500 – but directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood said in a statement: “For us it is about much more than numbers. We’re delighted to have given space to those who want to create work which not only entertains but also addresses issues that affect us all.”

The Pleasance saw a rise of 1% overall, but a stronger increase – of 7% – for its shows at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, and total audiences of 560,000.

Summerhall also experienced increases in footfall and at the box office, with the venue attributing some of the boost to Extinction Rebellion’s basement exhibition and interactive shows Coma and Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre.

Meanwhile, at the Edinburgh International Festival, ticket sales were more than £4 million and audience figures were up slightly on 2018, rising by 1% to 420,000. However, this is fewer than for the festival’s 70th anniversary in 2017, which attracted 450,000 people.

EIF director Fergus Linehan said: “This year we maintained the festival at its ideal size, we also deepened our impact within the city of Edinburgh through our outreach initiatives and by providing high-quality performances in venues stretching right from Leith to Gorgie.

“We broke new ground in collaboration and inclusiveness, which is particularly important in the current political backdrop.”

This year’s festival acts hailed from 41 countries, with more than 2,800 artists attending in 2019 – 800 of these were from Scotland.

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