MORE tickets were snapped up for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) than in any of the last five years, but box office revenue fell by £400,000 it has emerged.
Overall, 158,500 tickets were issued for opera, music, dance and theatre performances - 17,000 more than last year, and the highest since 2007 at least.
However, box office revenue fell from £2.84 million in 2012, to £2.43m this year, which organisers put down to more free and discounted tickets.
The Nam June Paik exhibition at Edinburgh University’s Talbot Rice Gallery was also free and attracted thousands, while the art installation Media Skins on the outside of Usher Hall and the Festival Theatre was publicly visible. Overall 400,000 people are thought to have attended the festival.
This year saw the Edinburgh Festival Fringe record its highest ever ticket sales, with 1,943,493 people flocking to shows – 3.5 per cent more than the previous highest tally, set two years ago.
It was also a record year for the book festival, with about 225,000 visits to the Charlotte Square site.
EIF organisers said the loss in revenue was anticipated and does not affect its future viability. They added 80 per cent of all available seats were taken.
Among the big hits were the digital space odyssey Leaving Planet Earth, and The Tragedy of Coriolanus, which fused Shakespeare and Chinese heavy metal music and attracted international attention.