Liam Rudden: It may still be spring, but the Fringe never sleeps

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IT might still be more than two months away, but the Fringe is already looming large - you might not believe this, but I received my first Fringe press release last December. That’s how keen companies are to make their mark - after all, in August more than 3000 shows a day vie to put your bum on their seats.

In the ‘old days,’ the real madness started with the launch of the Fringe programme, the Edinburgh bible for anyone attending the festival. This year’s programme isn’t launched until Thursday 30 May, but that hasn’t stopped many of the bigger venues putting their shows on sale.

With the advent of social media the days of the traditional launch, which saw the big names and quirky shows coming north announced in one fell swoop, were always going to be numbered.

This year, more than ever before, that has been the case with the Gilded Balloon, New Town Theatre, The Stand, Pleasance and Assembly Rooms, among others, all putting tickets on sale early. Even the Fringe Society had to succumb to the demand, their online box office going live last month.

While there are arguments for and against the current state of affairs, I must admit, it is a development of which I approve, and one that’s been a long time coming.

That said, it never ceases to amaze me how many people like to plan ahead. A friend recently boasted that they had managed to secure all the tickets they wanted for August. I doubt they have. For all the shows that are on sale there are bound to be surprises still to come, especially those waiting to be cast - or in some cases, written, even. Imagine having a show on sale that has yet to have a script in place. No pressure there!

Right now, though, I’m in the PR phase, when London PR hordes come to town to push their wares, each out to convince they have the must-see shows. Very few do. If they’re lucky they might have one that isn’t your normal Fringe fodder, the problem is, that’s the one that could be the hit of the Festival.

So, although it’s only May another Fringe meeting beckons... and if I discover that illusive hit, you’ll read about it here first.