I wrote this for someone (was it Fest magazine or was it a website? Can't remember) in July 2009 - it's about the rising ticket prices at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
FEST BLOG by Jo Caulfield
I'm already being congratulated for my show – and the festival hasn't even started yet. Sadly for my ego, I’m not being congratulated on the content but on the price - £9.
Keeping the price low was a conscious decision. Most people who come to see Stand-Up shows at the Festival are big comedy fans and they’ll be paying to see several shows. I think they should be rewarded for investing in the festival. They should get some ‘deals’ for coming and supporting the Comedy. I really don’t think comedy should be about ripping people off - just becausesomeone will pay £14 for a ticket doesn’t make it right for me to charge that.
Edinburgh is an expensive place to come in August, hotel prices are at a maximum, train fares are ridiculous and confusing, even some restaurants put up their prices just for August. If we want to ensure the festival is still here in 10 years time we have to make it more affordable.
It needs to be affordable to audiences but also to comics.
Generally audiences are paying money to see comics who are losing money. It’s simple economics. In the main venues the cost of putting on a show can be so high that only the bigger name comics will make a profit. I’m not pointing fingers, it’s just the reality and it’s a deal that comics do willingly. It’s an investment, there’s no dispute in my eyes; coming to Edinburgh makes you a better comedian. You stretch yourself, you write new material, you grow as a performer.
But we need to get the balance right and stop the excesses that could ruin the Festival. At The Stand Comedy Club Tommy Shepherd seems to be able to somehow please audiences and comics with the way he runs the finances. The man’s a genius. A rich genius that drives a merc, so he’s doing well by playing fair.
I also think the burgeoning free fringe and the £5 fringe are both great ideas. At those prices festival goers are more likely to take a risk on seeing someone they’ve never heard of; that’s great for the performers and the audience
It also brings back the spirit of experimentation and fun that’s being lost in all ‘the business’ of the Festival.
And now just so people don’t think my show will be a lecture on the economics of comedy – here’s a joke
Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?
A. To avoid the comedian handing out leaflets.
Sad but true.