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Edinburgh Fringe in numbers: attendance up from 2022 but less than pre-pandemic

Clockwise from top left: Frigid, Rob Auton, Anything We Wanted To Be, Party Ghost, The Last Show Before We Die
Clockwise from top left: Frigid, Rob Auton, Anything We Wanted To Be, Party Ghost, The Last Show Before We Die Copyright Hazel Coonagh/Julian Ward/Jane Hobbs/Hamish McCormick/Felix Mosse
Copyright Hazel Coonagh/Julian Ward/Jane Hobbs/Hamish McCormick/Felix Mosse
By Jonny Walfisz
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Here are all the final stats for this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Yesterday was the final day of Edinburgh's famous theatre festival. The Fringe ran from 4 to 28 August with 3,553 shows officially programmed.

Encompassing theatre, comedy, dance and circus acts; this year’s Fringe was a delight for variety and accessibility. It retains its title as one of the world’s largest ticketed events with 2,445,609 tickets issued across the month.

That’s an increase on the 2.2 million tickets issued in 2022 but still below the pre-pandemic figure of 3 million tickets in 2019.

“The discussions and debates held at this year’s festival have made it one of the most vital and memorable — and one of the loudest conversations was the one around affordability,” said Benny Higgins, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Chair.

“Certainly artists are facing some of the most severe challenges ever, and while the Fringe Society will continue to do everything in its collective power to support artists, this will become harder and harder without finding support commensurate with its contribution to the economy. We will continue to make the case for funding, to protect what the Fringe represents — an unrivalled outpouring of creative expression.”

288 venues got in on the fun with performers hailing from 67 countries. Attendance was predictably huge. Just under a quarter of a million people attended Fringe shows. Of those in the audiences, an impressive 33% were Edinburgh locals, accounting for 800,000 of the tickets issued.

Beyond locals, 10% of all attendees were from overseas, emphasising the importance of the festival to international audiences.

Jane Barlow/AP
Crowds mingle on Edinburgh's Royal Mile during the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016.Jane Barlow/AP

“People come from all over the world to perform here, to see shows and to commission work. This festival remains a beacon for people to share and discuss ideas – I want to express my heartfelt thanks and admiration to everyone who makes it happen,” said Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.  

“Congratulations to the whole Fringe community of Fringe 2023; we will be relentless in our ongoing work to ensure that the Edinburgh Fringe lives up to its mantra – to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat,” she continued.

Over the past week, some of the big awards have also been announced. Ahir Shah won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Comedy Show for his 2023 show ‘Ends’. Uruj Ashfaq won Best Newcomer for ‘Oh No!’ and ‘A Show for Gareth Richards’ won the Panel Prize Award.

Lorna Rose Treen won Dave's Joke of the Fringe with her gag: “I started dating a zookeeper, but it turned out he was a cheetah.”

Over in theatre, ‘Character Flaw’ won the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence in association with The Actors Theatre. The runner up was ‘Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story’ and a special commendation was given to ‘Horizon Showcase: Birthmarked’.

Euronews journalists Jonny Walfisz and Hannah Brown were among the 840 professional media accredited to report on the Fringe. This year’s Fringe saw an uptick in coverage with 25% more reviews than 2022.

Impressively, 56% of Fringe shows were accessible for wheelchair users. While this may not seem a very high number, the festival takes place largely across small venues that were often designed long before accessibility requirements were in place.

Next year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 02 – 26 August 2024.

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