As you may have guessed from the title, Edinburgh Fringe 2019 has now begun.
I had my first show of the run today and it was good fun. Not everything landed and the set is going to take some honing, but there’s a lot in there that is not far from where it needs to be. The show always develops throughout the run. Something that’s ad-libbed one day and gets a big laugh can end up staying for the whole run, or even years in certain cases.
I was about 16 short of selling-out, which is something I have stupidly become used to. The fact that I sold-out the whole run last year without handing out any flyers doesn’t help with this mindset.
But then selling-out was never part of the plan when I was developing the show. It’s something that I’ve been very lucky to have experienced almost by accident.
Nevertheless, I have a feeling that this year is going to be harder to get audience in.
This year in particular, the flat rental prices have rocketed way more than in any of the previous years I’ve been coming to the Fringe.
It’s not uncommon for acts to have forked out around £1,700 just for a flat to stay in for the month. Richard Herring has also spoken about spending £7,000 to rent a house for the month. These prices just aren’t really realistic to maintain at this level, something has to give somewhere.
It wouldn’t surprise me if hotel prices have also increased, in addition to the rise of AirBnBs that aren’t exactly cheap either.
Higher prices will inevitably put people off coming up to the Fringe, both for audience and particularly for performers.
Fortunately, I’ve managed to get a good deal on a flat through a wonderful site called Theatre Bookers. I’m paying £600 for the month, which is actually pretty cheap by normal Fringe standards, let alone for this year.
Although I have no control over rental prices (at least for the moment), what I can do is make every effort to get more punters in through the door and try to give the best show I can to the people who do come to see it.
I didn’t want another sold-out Jpeg anyway*.
*Okay, maybe I did want another Jpeg. But I’m over it. I’ll just have to wait and see what unfolds over the next three weeks.