There are many points to discuss around Lee’s article in The Guardian. t’s certainly rather doom-laden (but then isn’t that Lee’s style) but there’s far more to the Fringe than just four big comedy venues.
The establishment of the assumed Edinburgh Comedy festival in isolation from the Fringe festival saw many tacit threads of standardised practise – a mutually observed ticket release date for example – fall away, and the Fringe entered the deregulated free-market phase of late capitalism. Shows performed in the burgeoning Free Fringe cost nothing to see, and little to stage. The fiercely independent Stand underwrites all its shows, so performers lose nothing. But many performers in the simulated Edinburgh Comedy festival’s venues will agree to shed upwards of £10,000 this summer.
Sadly, the perception exists among agents, fringe-goers, and even performers, that Edinburgh Fringe festival shows outside the Edinburgh Comedy festival venues are invisible. And monopolising visibility costs money. (I, for example, was only able to get to write this high-visibility article via a costly go-between.)
More at The Guardian.