Survey shows Buxton Festival Fringe standing firm against economic downturn

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release October 22nd 2009

This year, the Buxton Festival Fringe celebrated its 30th anniversary and, despite the recession, it is still growing in popularity. Recently collated results of an extensive survey of performers and audiences at this year's Fringe show how the event goes from strength to strength.

Fringe30 was the biggest ever with some 141 entrants and a huge variety of arts on offer. Well over 2000 people were involved in performing or putting on events and a stunning 91% (up from 86% last year) of audience members rated the Fringe 4 or 5 out of 5 for enjoyment.

With 43% of audience members attending the Fringe for the first time, it is clear that it is becoming a draw in its own right. Indeed the number of Fringe-goers who also attended events at the opera-based main Festival was down from 51% last year to 43%.

With regard to the local economy, taking into account both visitor spend and performers putting on events, there was an estimated expenditure associated with the Fringe of £351,146 - an increase of 10.5% on last year and an indication of the money spent on food and drink, accommodation, venue hire, tickets and more.

The Fringe remains a huge local draw with some 33% of the audience coming from SK17 postcodes and nearly half from the SK postcode area. 44% of this year's entrants also had SK postcodes.

Equally exciting for the future of the Fringe is the fact that the average age of audiences is dropping (from an average age of 48 last year to 44 in 2009), suggesting a younger audience is now being drawn to the event and ensuring its continued success into the future.

Ticket sales were healthier than expected with the two large managed venues reporting significantly increased ticket sales; Underground Venues found ticket sales up 25% on the previous year and on the Fringe website Nice Venues talked about its 'highest average audience numbers in 15 years of running venues'.

Fringe chair Stephanie Billen sums up: 'We are delighted with the positive feedback from entrants and audiences. We really feel as if we are on the map both at a local and national level and would like to thank all our long-standing supporters including main sponsor the University of Derby Buxton, Trevor Osborne of the Crescent Spa Hotel Project, the Old Hall Hotel, the Opera House and the Borough Council and our wonderful volunteers and venues.'

Amongst the feedback received were the following quotes from Fringe goers:
'Fringe is great! Lots of suitable for teens stuff this year, which is good!!!'
'Long live the Fringe - it's better than the main Festival'
'Fringe goes from strength to strength and really brings Buxton alive each summer'
'The highlight of my year!'
'The best Fringe in the world!'

And from performers:

'We love the Fringe because it allows us to innovate and do something different' (Pauline Townsend, High Peak Artists' & Craft Workers' Association)

'Fringe means meeting new friends and seeing old,
a chance to practice, show off and be bold.
A time to strut your stuff and make a name,
support the rest and hopefully... find fame!' (Poet F. Philip Holland)

'Buxton Fringe is one of the highlights of my year. It is a welcoming and supportive festival without the trappings of commercialism. It is a place where creativity is encouraged and new talent fostered. There is a real sense of community between performers, audience and the Fringe committee.' (Matt 'Lab Monkey' Pritchard)

'The Buxton Fringe Festival paves the way from pipe dreams to professional practice.' (Jaacq Hugo, The Off-Off-Off Broadway Company).

'The Buxton Festival Fringe is a great and vibrant event for all the arts.' (Nigel Thorne, The Bronte Legacy)