2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival Biggest Ever!

By: Andrew Regan

A record 1.7 million tickets for this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival were sold this year, organisers have reported. Compared to last year, ticket sales were up by a whopping 10%.

An estimated 18,626 performers worked the famous Fringe making up 31,000 performances at over 2,000 shows. This year's numbers are the biggest yet with more and more people travelling from all over the world to come and see what all the fuss is about.

But it wasn't all good news for the organisers; larger crowds have brought with them criticism as well as profits. Some say that the rapid increase in the size of the festival has reduced the quality of the acts, but Fringe director Jon Morgan disagrees. It is his opinion that the nature of the festival is all accepting, but does not result in slipping standards. On suggestions that organisers regulate or ban shows he claims that would be an act against the spirit of the festival, which began as a completely free event.

Morgan adds: "To suggest I should have control over the size of an open access festival is wrong and against the principles of the Fringe."

All criticism aside, the numbers clearly indicate that the people that attend are happy to come and brave the crowds around Edinburgh and that the festival will continue to draw these numbers and possibly more in the future. Sure the huge quantity of big name comics and acts that made up this years fringe is overwhelmingly large, but it is clear that the event has become big enough to accommodate the professionals as well as giving the little guys a chance to shine.

As the size of the festival increases, so do the visitors as the worldwide press takes more notice, publishing stories and reviews in countries all over the globe. Like any world renowned event that draws in a huge amount of visitors, people need to plan ahead, especially in a smaller city such as Edinburgh. Making reservations in advance means more choices and better deals to be found online and through agents. Hotels in Edinburgh are booked up to a year in advance by those anticipating the sheer numbers that will travel to Edinburgh during August.

The ability to book accommodation online, and in some cases a year in advance, is quite a feat. Bookings for the festival have also gone online with record numbers of tickets purchased over the internet this year. The half-price hut was also a popular spot for those last minute purchases and saw a 50% increase in sales this year. With all the new innovations in the festival every year, those who book now are bound to be greeted by new festival treats for 2008 with peace of mind that they are all set for the next year's festival season.

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