Outcry Over Absence Of Official Edinburgh Fringe App This Year

Outcry Over Absence Of Officlal Edinburgh Fringe App This Year

Comedians and comedy fans alike have expressed their shock and outrage at the news that there will be no official Fringe app this year.

The app has been an increasingly popular way that visitors to Edinburgh have planned their Festival Fringe Festival. One of the most useful features is the comedy "nearby now" function enabling fans to choose shows at the last minute that are close to them. 

The only statement that the Fringe Society has released on the issue is the following on Twitter in response to an enquiry: "No official Fringe app this year Steve but our ticketing website is optimised for mobile so should work from your smartphone or tablet. We're keeping a record of interest in the app though, so thanks for letting us know."

The Edinburgh Fringe website does have the proximity functionality too, but it is not so user friendly and requires network reception or wi-fi. You have to use the advanced search, 'filter results' button and then the sixth option down ('nearby events').

The comedy industry was quick to relay their anger and more on social media.

Comedian Mark Watson tweeted: "Hey, it’s not too late to reconsider this app thing based on the feedback you’ve been getting. It really is so easy to administer and it’s hugely important to the whole ecology of the Fringe. Please think about it?"

House of Games host Richard Osman replied: "Yep, the App is so much better. Very hard to navigate the website, and the weird ticketing system. Already lost track of what tickets I've bought and the timetable."

Watson added: "And also, pretty essential to acts, especially those with smaller marketing budgets. Plus it’s 2022 so running a massive festival without a central app is like if you had the World Cup but didn’t tell people which grounds the games were at.

An app has features like what’s coming up in the next hour. The main Fringe website works fine on a phone but I think it’s quite unwieldy compared with what the app can do. Also, I think you want BOTH. Give people every chance to find shows. The fest is so sprawling now."

Katie Pritchard tweeted: "#BringBackTheApp please! It is essential for everyone - acts and audience members alike! Let’s show all the shows who’ve registered with you some love and support, we’ve had a naff few years, let’s help spread some love! Very interested in the app being re-launched ASAPP!"

Scott Bennett added: "There’s an app for my video doorbell, this the largest arts festival in the world."

Raul Kohli tweeted: "We need the app. Its vital for shows without PR/Agents & central to feeling of fringe. Discovering off of chance an unreal comedian nearby is what the magic of the fringe is all about...As is discovering some absolute tosh!"

The most recent Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Jordan Brookes tweeted: "Come on you cunts, that guy made Flappy Bird in 2 days, at the very least make another Flappy Bird as an apology"

It is not just a question of fans and comedians needing to use the App. Numerous performers have pointed out that they paid in the region of £300 to register their show with the Fringe Society and one of the things that they expected that they would get for their money would be the inclusion of their show details on the App. Joz Norris tweeted: "App would be a good idea and certainly feel the artists who paid their registration fees should have been consulted on its removal. Incredibly disappointing and insulting move!"

Fellow performer Anna Morris echoed Norris' sentiments: "Artists have paid £300-£400 to register and you didn’t think to tell us there is no app? An app really helps us sell tickets and for people to pick shows last minute. I am pretty appalled at this - why has this happened?"

Countless other comedians added to the clamour for the App to be reprieved, including Lauren Pattison, Fred MacAulay and Alfie Brown. Promoter/producer Brid Kirby tweeted: "If you think it's unimportant why have a bunch of venues come together to make their own app! Edfringe not having an app will be most detrimental to those not in the biggest venues. If you think the app isn't crucial, it proves how out of touch and backwards Edfringe is."

PBH's Free Fringe has had an App in the past and hopes to have one again this year. The Free Fringe Festival has one. And there is talk of an external independent App with the same functionality as the previous official Fringe App, but there is a question mark over whether this can be linked to the office Fringe ticketing system. This might be the Plan My Fringe App, which has been around for a while. Apart from all the other objections to this latest development, ticket sales via the official App is one of the vital ways performers can recoup the huge costs of performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Update 4/7 - read the new Fringe statement here.




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