Loving Free Fringe

I’ve always loved the Free Fringe and still do. We awarded it the Panel Prize in 2009. In a serious discussion about how hard it is for a comedian to graduate from a strong 20-minute club set to the full Edinburgh hour, Scotsman arts correspondent Brian Ferguson asked me an interesting question, one I hadn’t considered ­before: are comedians more likely to risk the full hour when they don’t have a “financial stake”?

My response was: “Hmm, well, (probably) yes.” Somewhere down the line this has translated into “Nica Burns, director of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, thinks the Free Fringe is bad for the Edinburgh Festival” (Perspective, 12 August) I don’t.

In an arts festival with nearly 3,000 shows they will range in standard from brilliant to terrible. This is true whether on the Free Fringe or not.

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Nica Burns

Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards