Fringe venues – there are rather a lot but not as many as at first glance! If you’d look at the map of last year’s venues they were numbered up to 464, but hang on some numbers are missing!?
So I pondered on the missing numbers and dug out my old Fringe progs. Ah, my very first Fringe in 1985, there were venues numbered 1-148 with just 123, 124 and 125 not there, so 145 venues in total. After a few years away, my next Fringe was 1990. In those five years nine more venues had appeared, but now eighteen were gone. By 2000 there were venues numbered up to 198, but by now thirty one had fallen by the wayside. But then I noticed some numbers were later being reused for other venues. I take it that a venue keeps it’s designated number, which it holds on to even if for a year or two it isn’t used, but if a venue is definitely gone, turned into student flats, demolished, made into a carpark, then the number will be reused, which means even more venues have come and gone.
By 2010, the number was up to 389 with almost a third unused, probably at least a few hit by Health & Safety problems (which sadly means some of the quirkier more eccentric, rickety venues disappearing) and many of the new venues form part of the ever more popular Free Fringe, often in pubs. As I mentioned at the start, last year saw number 464, but again, almost a third are unused.
So are some venues better than others, luckier than others, or just plain crap? Well, tune in again and join me for a moose eye tour of the best and worst Fringe venues.