Fringe is record breaker again

Buxton Festival Fringe is celebrating another year of record-breaking figures, with more people than ever attending the biggest ever Fringe.

Despite the tough economic climate, ticket sales were up seven per cent to an estimated 9,692 for 2011, and thousands more attended free events such as Fringe Sunday. Total spend in the local area by audiences and performers was around £334,000 including food, accommodation, performers’ local spending and ticket sales, almost identical to last year’s.

The economic downturn did have its impact on the number of events each audience member attended, but this was more than compensated for by a spectacular increase in the number of attendees by 27 per cent. A continuing rise in the number of local people attending was supplemented by a big increase in people coming in from outside the area.

2011 Fringe was the biggest ever with some 160 entrants and a huge variety of arts on offer. At least 2,428 people were involved in performing or putting on events (compared to last year’s 1,550) and the Fringe received many kind comments from satisfied artists including:

“Thanks for all you and your team do, we all really appreciate it and putting on the Fringe exhibition is something we all enjoy as it’s a chance to do something different. It’s definitely a highlight of our year,” Pauline Townsend, High Peak Artists.

“We had such a wonderful experience in Buxton - you all run the festival beautifully and every time we went into the office we were met with friendliness and efficiency, they could not have been more helpful. Buxton is a true hub for the arts and it was an honour to be part of it.” Nick Danan, Butterfly.

 The quality of the events on offer was as high as ever, the Fringe’s survey found that 93% scored 4 or 5 out of 5 for overall enjoyment, and respondents commented on the “fantastic varied programming”, and that it “makes me feel proud to live in Buxton.”

The Fringe is also comfortably moving into the digital age, and has 771 likes on Facebook, and over 1,000 followers on Twitter (@buxtonfringe and @FringeFriends). There were 10,861 visits to the website during the month of July (up nine per cent on the year before), and this year saw the launch of the very popular mobile site for those wanting to access the Fringe programme via their mobile phone or tablet computer.

Fringe chairman Stephanie Billen commented: “It’s great to see the Fringe going from strength to strength and continuing to grow its audience in difficult times. These figures confirm the Fringe’s importance to the life of the town and to the local economy.”