Hard to imagine the largest Festival in the world will hit the City in less than 10 days time, apart from the odd purple inflatable growing in Bristo Square, and dozens of scaffolding and truss delivery lorries lining the streets. A beautiful day at the top of Arthur’s Seat – views across the First of Forth, families enjoying a day out. In a few days every street corner will be ablaze with posters and leafleting folk persuading us to see the best show since sliced bread.
But at the heart of the Festival Fringe is the box office, and there the management team are having their work cutout to ensure tickets spit out and get rushed to customers in a timely fashion. Any decision to change box office computer systems is a risk, and the move to Pivotal seems to be having its fair share of issues. This morning many of the venue managers gathered together to hear the latest news and share in the discussion on contingency plans. There’s an old Irish saying “If you want to get there…I wouldn’t start from here.” Well we are here. The Fringe has a new computer system, and what is encouraging is the sheer determination of everyone involved to deal with any problem that technology may throw at us. Every discussion focussed on how to make sure customers were inconvenienced as little as possible. Jon Morgan confirmed that ticket sales to date were healthy compared with the same point in 2006 and 2007 and they were selling hard. Tickets are now being despatched, and there’s a lot of backlog to get out, but (hopefully) by the time the first performances start on Wed 30th and Thur 31st, systems will be fully functional. If not, and if there are problems during the Fringe, then its very clear that the venue managers have worked through plans to ensure customers get to see all that is great, and good, and crazy, that makes up the Fringe.
I was struck yesterday by the amazing level of calm which distinguishes the old-hands at the Festival Fringe. There was no panic when one company announced that, because of a sponsorship deal with their travel company, they would be arriving two days after their scheduled technical rehearsal !!. Just a slightly bemused response from the Pleasance tech team thinking through a couple of solutions which wouldn’t involve re-scheduling 6 other company dress rehearsals. Messages have been left with the company. I guess in time one of them will respond to us and let us know what they plan to do. If you’re reading this blog, and you know who you are, please give me a call !!
Now I must get back to proof-reading the Musical Theatre at George Square diary brochure which sure-looks-pretty (name that musical and the character with that catch phrase??)
Cheers, from a sunny Edinburgh – looking forward to seeing you all in this fantastic City.