On Saturday, the fourth day of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, the popular downtown event endured a downpour. Coupled with slightly higher average prices for individual tickets, this should have put a crimp into attendance.
Instead, the fringe broke a record for indoor attendance that day with 10,840 tickets sold, the best single day in the festival's 30-year history, according to fringe executive producer Chuck McEwen.
The cumulative total of ticketed attendance in the first five days of the fest came in at 41,301, only slightly behind the 2015 record of 41,811.
McEwen credited an especially strong lineup of shows on the 2017 program. Most of the 188 shows still attracted audiences, though McEwen says about 60 per cent of the companies took the option of raising the price of tickets to $11 or $12 from $10.
"About 40 per cent stayed at $10," says McEwen. "So almost half the shows are still at $10.
"We haven't had any real complaints," McEwen says. "Obviously, some people would like cheaper tickets, but it hasn't slowed down ticket sales because over the first four days, up to the end of day Saturday, we were just 15 or 20 tickets below our record."
"So I don't think the (increase in) ticket prices really impacted people's enthusiasm. It looks like there's a very large number of high-quality shows this year, so I think it's just a really strong festival."
The fringe fest continues until July 30 at 30 venues throughout downtown, The Forks, Osborne Village and the city's West End.