The wait for the most exciting event in the Edinburgh calendar is over - the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe officially starts today (Friday).

In the 67th year of the Fringe, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is delighted to launch its biggest and most vibrant line-up to date comprising a mind-blowing 3,193 shows. With the number of shows increasing by 11% on last year’s total, the 2014 programme promises Fringe audiences the world’s best and most original comedy, theatre, dance, circus and physical theatre, cabaret, events, exhibitions, children’s shows, music, musicals and opera and spoken word.

Speaking at the start of the 2014 Festival, Kath M Mainland, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:

"It gives me great pleasure to say that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 is finally here. We have been getting ready for Fringe 2014 for the past year and it feels fantastic to launch what will definitely be an unforgettable month of arts and culture. The sheer volume of performers, companies and venues who are gathering in Edinburgh to be part of this year’s festival is overwhelming and further solidifies the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s position as the best place in the world for artists to showcase their work.

"This year we’ve seen an increase of 11% on the number of shows coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is hugely encouraging. It assures us that more artists than ever are continuing to come to Edinburgh to embrace the Fringe experience and use it as a platform to show off their creativity, exploration and artistic expression.

"I am also delighted to say that the 2014 Fringe Central Welcome Address will be delivered by multiple award-winning director Rachel Chavkin and four-time Fringe First writer Chris Thorpe.

"With eight Fringe First awards between them, both Rachel and Chris will share their expertise and experience about their individual Fringe journeys with this year’s participants. They’ll be discussing each of their own Fringe experiences as well as talking about how they started working together and why they are still presenting new work at the Fringe.

"The Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and draws artists and audiences from all over the globe to Edinburgh. It’s the high point of the year in the arts calendar and I look forward to joining the thousands of residents and visitors to Edinburgh in embracing and enjoying what looks set to be the biggest and most exciting Fringe in history."

Fringe Facts 2014:

  • The 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe features 49,497 performances (up from 45,204 last year) of 3,193 shows (up from 2,871 shows last year) in 299 venues (up from 273 venues last year).
  • Comedy makes up 34% (compared to 33% last year)
  • Theatre makes up 28% (compared to 29% last year)
  • Music makes up 13% (compared to 14% last year)
  • Musicals and Opera make up 3% (compared to 4% last year)
  • Children’s Shows make up 5% (compared to 5% last year)
  • Dance, Circus & Physical Theatre make up 4% (compared to 4% last year)
  • Events make up 4% (compared to 4.5% last year)
  • Cabaret makes up 3% (compared to 3% last year)
  • Spoken Word makes up 4% (compared to 2% last year)
  • Exhibitions make up 2% (compared to 1.5% last year)

There are 825 free shows, 1,789 premieres and 47 different countries represented.

For more information please contact the Fringe Media Office on 0131 240 1919 or [email protected].