Fringe sets
early record

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe opens with a record number of acts ready to entertain audiences.

Comedians, musicians, dancers and actors from more than 40 countries will take to the streets and stages of the Scottish capital for the next month in what is said to be the world’s biggest arts festival.

Organisers said 2013 will be a record year with 2,871 shows to be performed by 24,107 artists in 273 venues, an increase of 6.5 per cent on last year’s programme.

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With acts performing numerous times throughout August there will be a total of 45,464 performances, with comedy making up a third of the shows.

Ticket prices vary with established and unknown acts performing, but organisers said there are 713 free shows this year.

Kath Maitland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “You never know what you’re going to get with the Fringe, that’s the beauty of it, what we do know is that tens of thousands of artists are already descending on the city to bring the best work they possibly can to audiences.”

The Fringe has a reputation for discovering new acting and comedy talent but plenty of famous faces also return each year to perform. Jason Manford, Russell Kane, Reginald D Hunter and Jenny Eclair are among the big name comedians performing.

The festival generates around £142m for the Scottish economy each year.