Edinburgh Festival: Fringe Director’s Shock Departure

Jon Morgan, the recently appointed director of the Edinburgh Festival, which is the world’s largest fringe fest, has made a sudden departure from his position.

The crisis-beset Fringe festival in Edinburgh suffered another significant blow after its director resigned suddenly today, only 15 months after taking up his post.

Jon Morgan stunned his colleagues and senior figures in the Edinburgh arts world by stepping down from his post three days after the Fringe revealed the first drop in sales for eight years, and following damaging rows over the role of the event’s comedy venues.

Fringe venue directors said Morgan could be followed by further resignations from Fringe board members, who they said should take overall responsibility for the crises which hit this year’s event – the worst summer in its 61-year history.

His resignation comes days after news was released that ticket sales for the festival had fallen a dramatic 10% in 2008.

The event was hit by a series of problems with ticketing after its new centralised box office collapsed on the first day of ticket sales in June, leading to a six week delay in the distribution of tickets, and further serious backlogs.

The launch of this year’s Fringe programme was also overshadowed by a row over claims, since denied by those involved, that the city’s “big four” comedy venues were plotting a breakaway event after they published an independent joint programme.

On Monday, Morgan disclosed that this year’s ticket sales had fallen by 10% from the record 1.7m tickets sold last year – a drop he blamed on the economic downturn, the popularity of this year’s Olympics, the bad weather and lastly the ticketing problems.

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