Eight EdFest venues comment on soaring accommodation costs
The eight major production sites behind EdFest.com – which include Assembly, Dance Base, Gilded Balloon, Just the Tonic, Pleasance, Summerhall, Underbelly and ZOO – have collectively commented that soaring accommodation costs are the biggest risk for the future of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 1,965,961 tickets were collectively sold by the eight venues in 2019, while more than 1,486,746 are expected to be sold this year.
A spokesperson for EdFest.com said: “It’s fantastic to be back at the first full Fringe since 2019 – to see the live performance industry come back to life in this post-pandemic world. There have been a real appetite and energy for shared experiences live in Edinburgh over the past few weeks and the quality of the program has been amazing – yet the expected number of tickets we have collectively sold is down 25% from 2019, which poses a major threat to everyone involved in the festival.
“Together, we eight venues are expected to have sold over 1,486,746 tickets despite the very real ongoing challenges in our industry including the cost of living crisis, the lingering effects of coronavirus, the cost and uncertainty of travel international markets, the recent train strikes and many more, but chief among them is the spike in accommodation prices in Edinburgh in August – audiences and performers are being driven out of the city, due to the experiences.
“It is clear to anyone spending time in Edinburgh that there are fewer people in the city this year than in 2019. Although there are certainly other factors which have affected the audience numbers this year , the cost of accommodation is an ongoing issue at all levels.Disruptions to public transport, delays with artist visas and high fuel costs are even more insurmountable when people and performers can’t do it all. just can’t afford to stay in the city.
We know that the lack of safe and affordable accommodation is not just an August issue, but one that affects artists, staff and audiences who call Edinburgh home. It is imperative that local and national government, landlords, universities, Fringe venues and the Fringe Society all come together to find a lasting solution to this problem, otherwise the future of the Fringe is in very real jeopardy. In the long term, we must also find solutions that allow the festival to be affordable for the artists and the public. Given the extent of the reduction in sales, the festival as a whole has major work to do to bring the event back to normality, which may take several years and require some public support. We need to stabilize the current situation where many people have suffered significant losses; settle the housing issue; find ways to support the work; and a major marketing campaign to bring audiences back to the festival.
“Over the past 75 years, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has earned its reputation as the world’s leading arts festival. We must continue to work together to do everything in our power to ensure that it remains a destination dynamic, inclusive and financially accessible for another 75 years.”
About the Assembly Festival
Founded in 1981, Assembly is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s oldest and most prestigious multi-space venue; and one of eight venues collaborating on EdFest.com in 2022.
In the four decades since its first festival where it hosted a quartet of performances, Assembly now presents a program of over 200 productions to audiences of over half a million. The 2022 Festival program kicked off on Wednesday August 3 with the Assembly Gala showcase.
After a reduced schedule in 2021, this year sees the Assembly return to its usual venues, with performances at George Square Gardens and Studios, Assembly Hall, Assembly Checkpoint and Assembly Rooms on George Street where the Assembly began more 40 years old. Over the years, a long list of now household names began their journey to stardom on an Assembly stage, including Eddie Izzard, Jo Brand, Bill Bailey and Sandi Toksvig, to name a few.
About Dance Base
As Scotland’s National Center for Dance, the organization exists to bring dance to all of Scotland and create national and international success for dance artists based here.
It offers an open and accessible public lesson program that appeals to people of all ages and abilities, as well as a professional program offering mentorship, facilities and creative advice to dance artists across Scotland, as well as performance and partnership opportunities during Edinburgh Festivals.
The organization also promotes dance for health and well-being through its engagement projects, bringing together dance artists, charities, community organizations and funders to use dance effectively to achieve health and social outcomes.
Dance Base is supported by Creative Scotland and Edinburgh City Council.
About the golden balloon
Gilded Balloon is one of Scotland’s largest and best-loved entertainment production companies, presenting an annual program as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as well as throughout the year in its hometown of Edinburgh. ‘Edinburgh.
Gilded Balloon originated at Cowgate in 1986. It is run by the mother and daughter of artistic directors Karen and Katy Koren, both passionate about providing a platform of support for all kinds of performers, of emerging and established writers and artists.
Gilded Balloon is internationally respected for presenting a superb annual showcase of theatre, comedy and cabaret.
About Just the Tonic
Just the Tonic have been producing comedies since 1994. With regular comedy nights and events across the UK, they are recognized as one of the leading brands in the UK comedy scene. For Edfringe, they offer an entry-level venue for performers, with shows in 19 venues across 8 venues across the city. Just the Tonic offers artists the option to offer Free/Pay What You Want shows as well as regular paid shows. In this way, we provide the Fringe with plenty of new, up-and-coming talent at affordable prices, while also showcasing a large number of more established acts.
As a registered charity in Scotland, England and Wales, the Pleasance Theater Trust aims to create a compelling platform to discover, nurture and support new artistic talent from around the world. As a not-for-profit organisation, all profits from the Festival and our London base are plowed back into developing new people and new ideas. This artist development stream is called Pleasance Futures. The Pleasance Theater Trust receives no regular funding and does not run its own bars, which is why we are almost entirely dependent on income from our arts programme.
The Pleasance Theater Islington has been one of London’s most exciting Fringe theaters since it opened in 1995, providing a launch pad for some of the most memorable productions and acclaimed performers over the past two decades, staying true to the mission of the Trust’s offering a platform for the talents of tomorrow. This year-round program complements our world-renowned operations in Edinburgh.
Since its opening in 1985, the Pleasance has become renowned for offering year after year an inspiring program that uniquely embodies the spirit of the Fringe Festival.
About Summer Hall
Occupying the former Royal Dick Veterinary College at the University of Edinburgh, Summerhall is both a vibrant arts venue and cultural hub, home to a diverse community of over a hundred artists and creative businesses, including including a pub, a radio station, a record label, a brewery, an escape room, distillery and much more.
Now ten years old and much loved by Edinburgh’s art scene, Summerhall presents a wide range of exhibitions, festivals and events throughout the year, and is well known for its award-winning and acclaimed programmes. the Edinburgh Festival review. Summerhall Fringe features innovative international and local works that challenge and entertain artists like Rachael Young, Sh!t Theater and Paines Plow.
Summerhall’s exhibitions are free and open year-round, and the visual arts program has featured world-class artists including Liliane Lijn, Alastair MacLennan, Derrick Guild, Tamsyn Challenger, Haroon Mirza and Pester and Rossi. Its live music programme, Nothing Ever Happens Here… has been hailed for its contribution to Edinburgh’s music scene, with a program that combines the best new music from Scotland with national and international touring artists, including Charlotte Church’s Grandaddy, Sun Kil Moon, Pussy Riot and Pop Dungeon. Summerhall’s Artist Development Program supports Scottish artists with showcase opportunities, free rehearsal space and paid development time.
Summerhall won the Dan Crawford Innovation Award at the Empty Space Peter Brook Awards 2015, was shortlisted for The Stage Fringe Venue of the Year in 2014 and 2017, received a Cycle Friendly Employer Award from Cycle Scotland in 2019 and won the Herald Scottish Culture Award 2019 for Place of exception.
About the belly
Underbelly is a world-leading entertainment company that produces and programs groundbreaking productions internationally. Created in 2000 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Underbelly has since produced shows and events around the world, from London to Hong Kong. Underbelly is currently producing Cabaret on the West End, winner of 7 Olivier Awards.
Underbelly is one of the leading venue producers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Highlights of our 21 years at the festival include the presentation of Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in 2013, SIX by Marlow & Moss in 2018, Ada/Ava by Manual Cinema in 2016, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by 1927 in 2007 and America is by Life Jacket Hard to See in 2019.
ZOO offers a stunning mix of the world’s best established performing companies alongside the most exciting emerging artists. Breathtaking and reflective circus and dance, explorations of gender and sexuality, questions about reality and powerful music combine to create a program that questions our place in an ever-changing and unstable world. Now in our 20th year at the Fringe, ZOO has been awarded The Herald Archangel and has hosted numerous award-winning Fringe First, Total Theater and Herald Angel shows.