SLOW ticket sales for the Edinburgh Fringe mean the festival’s recovery could be at risk as promoters warn that its future is on a “knife edge".

The festival will take place from August 5 to 29.

However, the late publication of the official programme as well as the marketing of the event coupled with rising accommodation costs and changing consumer habits from Covid are all thought to be hampering ticket sales, which is down about 30% at some venues. 

The Fringe Society, which oversees the running of the festival, published its official programme on July 7, just a month before the first shows are set to premiere.

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The delay was intended to give venues and performers more time to register but has been partly blamed for reduced ticket sales.

Artistic director of the Assembly venue William Burdett-Coutts told The Scotsman: “We’ve been tracking just above 2018, but nowhere near 2019. 

“However, that curve has been narrowing over the last couple of weeks. We’re about 30 per cent behind 2019 at the moment. 

“Inevitably a lot of launches have been late, so I think that has had an impact. I’m concerned that we’ve not all got our act together about marketing the whole festival ahead of the festival. 

“It’s all kicking in at this stage. I think we will get to a local audience, but the bit that concerns me is the audience that comes from outside Edinburgh.”

This year will be the 75th anniversary of the event with over 3500 shows from musical performances to comedy on offer. 

Artistic director at the Pleasance Anthony Alderson said: “Everyone I have spoken to seems to be bursting with excitement for our return. 

“We have to understand that people have changed their behaviour and late booking is now very normal. 

“We look to be busy and those numbers are growing every day.”

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However, he did express concern that the “long-term future of the festival is not currently sustainable. 

He continued: “With all of the difficulties our industry has faced, our future is on a knife edge. 

“We have been all but closed for three years. We must think positively, but recovery will take time, it can’t be achieved in one year.”