Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival (World’s largest arts festival)
Date : Jul 2008     Cost : Reports indicate a cost of £300,000 (but likely more)

Synopsis :
Implementation of a new on-line ticketing tool fails the day after production release. Seven weeks later after repeated outages, not a single ticket had been mailed out. Breakdown in advanced sales result in cash flow problems for organizers, venues and performers leading to claims for compensation. Organization responsible for the new system forced into administration following the debacle.  Fringe organizers now facing the challenge of selecting and implementing another new system in time for next year’s festival.

UPDATED – Following the debacle, an independent review was commissioned. Published Feb 2009 – The report concluded: “Implementation suffered from inadequate project control, insufficient resources, over-reliance on key individuals and insufficient independent scrutiny at key milestones.”

Contributing factors as reported in the press :
Volume related performance problems. Insufficient resources. Inadequate project controls. Failure to oversee work of contractors with sufficient rigour.

Reference links :

  1. Edinburgh Fringe ticket site dead as a parrot
  2. Edinburgh festival: Report slams Fringe ticketing fiasco
  3. Edinburgh Fringe ticketing chaos continues