Curtain goes up on Fringe Festival

The world’s largest arts festival got under way today with its busiest line-up to date.

The world’s largest arts festival got under way today with its busiest line-up to date.

Dizzee Rascal, Alan Cumming and Eddie Izzard are among the top names featuring at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which runs until the end of the month.

A record 2,453 comedy, theatre, dance and music shows will be performed across the Scottish capital at the annual event, which is now in its 64th year.

The packed programme will see more than 40,000 performances at 259 venues.

British rap star Dizzee Rascal will appear at the Corn Exchange, while 'Britain’s Got Talent' act Flawless are expected to draw in crowds at the Underbelly.

'X-Men' star Cumming will perform songs from his debut album in 'I Bought A Blue Car Today' at the Assembly, while comedians Paul Merton, Izzard, Josie Lawrence and Greg Proops will team up to chart the life of Fringe veteran Jim Sweeney in a production at the Gilded Balloon.

Comedy makes up around 35% of the Fringe, which generates £75m for the Edinburgh and Scottish economy each year.

The number of shows this year is up 17% on 2009.

Launching the programme earlier this year, chief executive Kath Mainland said: “Nowhere else can you see such a variety of world-class talent and range of shows that are guaranteed to engage, enthral, excite and delight.

“As the largest arts festival, the Fringe attracts performers and audiences from every corner of the world.”

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