Brighton Fringe will not produce a printed brochure for 2023. This is due to a number of factors, principally the rising costs of print and distribution and limited budgets. Since 2019, Brighton Fringe has seen at least a 50% increase in price concerning print and distribution costs with prices set to continue rising between now and February 2023, when a brochure would be printed.
In addition, we have had to commit approximately £30,000 to website improvements, meaning that the budget we could allocate to produce and distribute a brochure would be around £25,000. To produce and distribute a brochure within this budget would severely restrict both the volume and the content, eliminating many valuable aspects, such as a venue index, an event index, and the map. It would also mean producing a limited print run of no more than 35,000 copies, a fraction of the 2019 number (90,000 copies), thereby severely reducing the distribution and therefore marketing benefit, with the same amount of time spent creating it.
We feel this investment could be better spent elsewhere: improving our online functionality, raising our profile in the city and beyond by investing in more out-of-home advertising, and producing a smaller printed booklet to be in-situ at key tourist hubs and Brighton businesses. We are also considering an option to export/print listings from our website for those who enjoy browsing events in a paper format with friends and family.
For those that are digitally excluded or would like help with browsing or purchasing tickets, we are looking at offering face-to-face advice and digital literacy support for the general public from March 2023.
Brighton Fringe finds itself in a precarious situation, still reeling from the shutdown of our industry during COVID-19 restrictions, we now find ourselves feeling the effects of rising inflation and the cost of living crisis. As an organisation, we are operating with smaller budgets and a significantly reduced team from pre-pandemic levels, whilst revenue remains at levels last seen in 2015. We understand this isn’t the ideal situation, we too would like to produce a Brighton Fringe brochure, but we want to be as transparent as we can be prior to participants and venues registering to take part in 2023.
For full transparency, we are also still fundraising so that the Brighton Fringe app can return in 2023, with a decision on this to be made in late November.
Beyond financial issues, Brighton Fringe is also committed to limiting its environmental impact. Considerations around the volume of paper used at the festival have been a source of ongoing concern for many years. Indeed, before the pandemic, we had already reduced the print run from 100,000 in 2018 to 90,000 in 2019 and each year were looking to move the festival marketing more digital. These cost increases have therefore precipitated a plan that was already in place.
“Difficult economic times have brought with them the need to make difficult decisions, or at least to bring them forward. We hope that the improvements we continue to make to the online experience, together with the support for those who find themselves digitally excluded, will help both participants and audiences navigate the festival at least as well, if not better than ever before.”
We hope that you will join us as we #JourneyIntoFringe from 5 May - 4 June 2023.