Background: Box office chaos that almost killed a festival

The Fringe was plunged into its biggest crisis in the run-up to the 2008 event when a new box office system failed to cope with the launch of ticket sales.

During three months of chaos, sales were suspended several times, the Fringe missed a crucial deadline for sending out pre-booked tickets by post, some shows were wrongly said to be over-booked, and venues had to bring in extra staff to sell tickets because the official box office was so unreliable. The box office woes were widely blamed for ticket sales falling almost 10 per cent that year, despite weeks of bad weather and the Festival coinciding with the Beijing Olympics. The Festival Fringe Society was brought to the brink of bankruptcy due to the extra costs involved and the slump in ticket sales.

Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise were all involved in a bail-out package.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Consultants blamed a series of "flawed" decisions by Fringe officials and board members and revealed there had been dire warnings of potential chaos for months before tickets went on sale.