The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 has come to an end after 45,464 performances of 2,871 shows, making it the largest ever arts festival in the world.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced that by Monday afternoon, with hundreds of performances still to take place, an estimated 1,943,493 tickets had been issued for shows and events in 273 venues across the city, reflecting the continuing popularity and cultural significance of the Fringe.  This is 5% more than the overall number of tickets estimated to have been issued by the same point last year.

Kath M Mainland, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:

“Our loyal and enthusiastic audience has once again been treated to the most amazing cultural experience and has been both challenged and entertained by a programme of spectacular work across all artforms from all around the world. 

“Over the past 25 days, audiences from Edinburgh, Scotland, the rest of the UK and across the globe have been inspired by world-class performers, writers and artists in the largest celebration of art and entertainment in the world. I would like, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people who visited the Fringe this year, to thank them for showing us their incredible talent and courage by bringing so many extraordinary shows and events to our capital city.”

The 2013 Fringe saw a range of new developments that highlight the ever changing nature of the world’s largest and most diverse arts festival. One new initiative was the ability for audience members to print tickets for any show purchased from the Fringe Society at one of 21 different Ticket Collection Points situated in Fringe venues all across central Edinburgh, making it easier than ever for the public to pick up their Fringe tickets. For the second year, the Glasgow Box Office at ScotRail’s Queen Street Station enabled audiences from Glasgow and the west of Scotland to purchase and collect tickets before boarding trains to Edinburgh. Tickets were also on sale via Facebook and the Fringe Society mobile app.

The Royal Mile and The Mound Precinct, supported by Virgin Money, were alive with the world’s greatest street performers, including the 2013 Street Performance World Champions The Lords of Strut. Meanwhile, street performer The Mighty Gareth celebrated his 25th Fringe. Elsewhere, Fringe participants could upload audio files to their page whilst members of the public could listen to podcasts at the Soundcloud Shack on the Royal Mile which can all still be accessed on the Soundcloud website.

Another new initiative this year was the Fringe Central Welcome Address. Fringe Central is the Fringe Society’s Participants’ Centre and every day hosts a range of events focused on the professional and career development of all the individual participants who take part in the Fringe. All the events in Fringe Central are free to anyone involved in one of the Fringe’s 2,871 shows. This year, the inaugural Welcome Address was delivered by Mark Ravenhill who has been involved in Fringe productions since 1985. Mark’s talk on the theme of Why You Have To Be a Liar, Vagabond and Thief to Put on a Show at The Fringe stimulated a considerable amount of debate – both in the media and around Fringe venues and bars.

Awards play an important part in the landscape of the Fringe and as always there was a plethora of different awards issued during the Festival by a wide range of organisations. 2013 marked the 40th year of the Scotsman Fringe First Awards which recognise new writing on the Fringe. Created in 1973, the awards have become internationally renowned for celebrating the best of new theatre and rewarding innovation. 2013 also saw the emergence of a couple of new awards; the first ever Primary Times Children’s Choice Award went to Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs (Underbelly) while the first Impatto Totale Award presented by the Italian Cultural Institute in association with LaMama Spoleto Open for European companies participating in the Fringe was won by Belarus Free Theatre’s Trash Cuisine (Pleasance Courtyard).

Notes to Editors: