This year’s Fringe: attendance down, but not by much

Preliminary numbers indicate 48,350 tickets were issued to the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival, down 3.7% from last year’s record of 50,222 tickets. But this year also had two fewer productions – 167 instead of 2010’s 169.

In a press release issued by the festival earlier today, Executive Director Robin Gillette said she’s proud of this year’s numbers.

“The past several years have seen enormous growth in the festival’s attendance and we’re happy to see those new audience members have become loyal Fringers in their own right.

“The numbers may be down a tad, but it was still a blockbuster year,” said Gillette. “And what’s more important to me than the numbers is the overwhelmingly positive response we got from participating artists, audiences and volunteers.”

Preliminary estimates of this year’s ticket sales total $357,567, down 3.1% over last year. Festival organizers attribute the discrepancy between revenue and tickets issued to a price increase for the festival’s Ultra Pass, which offers holders an unlimited number of tickets for a set fee.

Meanwhile, the 19th annual Minnesota Fringe Festival has already been scheduled: Thursday August 2 through Sunday August 12, 2012.