Leading article: Well within the Fringe

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The Independent Online

When a festival gets to be 10 years old, never mind more, it's usually time to get out the tired old accusation that it's become too commercial/middle class/establishment and just past it.

Well, the Edinburgh Fringe is now in its 64th year and the world's largest arts festival is actually still going strong.

A total of 2,453 shows in 259 venues with more than 21,148 performers in three weeks of joyous, chaotic and desperately uneven artistic experiment – well, you can't beat that for proving that old age need be neither graceful nor exhausted. From the venues that brought you the stars of today comes the talent of tomorrow.

Why the continued energy and success? Simple, really. The Edinburgh Fringe is entirely open access. The organisers don't choose the numbers or those who will take part. For a nation which loves performance, and to take part in it, what could be better? And for a world of quite such grimness and expectant disaster, what could be more refreshing? The Edinburgh festival as the Karaoke of Komedy. Let's salute it.