Edinburgh’s Big Four Venues Announce ‘the Largest Comedy Festival in the World’

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This article is from 2008.

Four of the biggest Fringe venues have announced their plans to band together to launch the ‘largest comedy festival in the world’ this August. Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance and Underbelly yesterday announced their intention to launch the inaugural Edinburgh Comedy Festival at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Between them the venues account for around 50% of ticket sales during the Fringe.

The Edinburgh Comedy Festival will present over 250 comedy shows appearing at the venues during the forthcoming Edinburgh Festival Fringe to an estimated audience of over 550,000 people. The organisers said a key imperative behind the Festival is to improve marketing and the four venues will create a single brochure and website for the Edinburgh Comedy Festival.

With projected sales of over 550,000 tickets, the Edinburgh Comedy Festival will be the largest comedy festival in the world. Organisers of the comedy festival stressed that they will continue to be part of the Fringe, with all the shows included in the Fringe programme.

However, concerns have been raised in Edinburgh’s arts community that the comedy festival could have a negative impact on the Fringe, with the moneyed ‘Big Four’ squeezing smaller venues out.
In an interview in The Times, Steve Cardownie, the Edinburgh City Councillor with responsibility for the festival, said: ‘These people are in danger of killing the goose that lays the golden egg.’

This article is from 2008.


1. Amarylis22 Mar 2008, 11:01pm Report

Since the early 1990's this has been on the cards. It's a pity that greed and ambition has driven the managers of the most successful venues to take that ultimate step which will inevitably create a two-tier system. They should be ashamed. Even the biggest names in comedy started out somewhere and without those tiny venues opening their doors to all and sundry there would be no Assembly or Pleasance to cream off the profits later on. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the great democracy that has sustained the Fringe since the beginning.

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