City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Fringe Goes On Amid Ticket Turmoil


By edg - Posted on 24 July 2008

The Fringe Office

It has been an inauspicious start for the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe (3-25 August). Ever since Fringe tickets went on sale on 9th June, the Fringe office has been grappling with a technology nightmare caused by a switch-over to a new box office system.

Only a day after launching its new Liquid Box Office, an electronic ticketing system supplied by Glasgow-based Pivotal Integration, the Fringe discovered the system was unable to cope with the rush of customers for its 2088 shows.

So with the help of their web support company Kraya, the Fringe replaced it with a new system launched on 17 June, which allowed people to buy tickets across counters, by phone and online.

There was one problem though: the new system couldn't print tickets.

So the Fringe went back to the original system provided by Pivotal Integration, believing they'd ironed out the technical glitches, only to discover that they couldn't print the tickets out fast enough.

With a backlog of tens of thousands of postal tickets still not sent out, and only days before preview shows, the Fringe took the drastic measure of halting counter and telephone ticket sales for a second time this past Sunday and Monday so that they could get up to speed.

Tickets are now back on sale again, although ticket collections from the Fringe Box Office are not yet available. Details of where you can pick up tickets ordered through the Fringe will be announced next week. Some venues, such as the "Big Four" in the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, have their own box office in addition to using the Fringe box office.

The Show Will Go On

The latest message posted on the front page of the Fringe web site yesterday assures people that have bought some 150,000 Fringe tickets already, that tickets are being printed and posted out.

"The first batch of 27,000 tickets for the preview week of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be posted today (Wednesday 23 July). All tickets from this batch will be posted first-class and should arrive with ticket buyers before previews start on July 30."

Responding to fears that the ticket crisis might lead people to think there is a bigger problem it adds:

"The Fringe will go ahead as planned and no shows have been cancelled because of ticketing difficulties."

In a statement, yesterday, Fringe Director Jon Morgan said he was satisfied with the way his team was handling the crisis: "Everyone involved with the Fringe is working hard to address the
situation and today's announcement is a reflection of how seriously we
are treating this."