Every year the Edinburgh Festival Fringe transforms Scotland's capital city and enriches Scotland both artistically and financially.
Edinburgh's population swells, its streets become crowded, and the city's many venues thrum to the August festival season's dizzying mix of comedy, drama, dance, music and visual art. Last year, mainly due to competition with the popular London Olympics, the number of tickets issued at the Fringe fell by 1%, albeit while still recording a healthy figure of 1.85m.
But last night, the Fringe's success reached a new level, with the announcement that 1,943,493 tickets had been issued for shows and events, including free ticketed shows, in the 273 venues across the city this summer. This is a 5% rise on last year, and the highest figure yet recorded in the event's more than 60-year history. The Edinburgh International Book Festival also recorded a 6% rise in tickets even though its programme was not much bigger than last year, and is restricted in scale by its Charlotte Square home.
The Fringe is over for another year, after an almost dizzyingly successful month. But of course the festival season is not quite over yet, with the Edinburgh International Festival in full swing for another week.
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