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The Free Fringe is an organisation that promotes free shows at the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Free Fringe venues are commonly independently run bars and nightclubs which create performance spaces in their premises for the duration of the Fringe Festival. It was started in 1996 by Peter Buckley-Hill with the show "Peter Buckley-Hill And Some Comedians" in the basement of the Canon's Gait pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
Performers are not charged for performance spaces on the condition that they do not charge an entry fee into their shows, although audience members are asked to make a donation at the end of a show.
The venues have expanded since 1996 from the original Canon's Gait venue to over 170 free shows in 19 venues - over 3,500 performances including appearances from performers including Stewart Lee, Simon Munnery and Robin Ince.
Most of the operating costs for the Free Fringe are covered through advertising sponsorship in the Free Fringe brochure. It's part of the Free Fringe ethos that no performer should pay anything towards the running of the organisation.
Since 1996 the Free Fringe has thrived, winning numerous awards including...
- Tap Water Awards: spirit of the Fringe 2006
- Chortle Award for Innovation 2007
- Chortle Award for Best Off—Stage Contribution 2007
- Three Weeks: Editors Choice Award
In 2009 Peter Buckley Hill won the Edinburgh Comedy Awards (formerly Perrier)  Panel Prize, in recognition of his work on the Free Fringe, and it has been described as 'the true spirit of the Fringe' by comedian Sean Lock.
In 2010 The Fringe office created controversy after being accused of inflating its box office figures by including an arbitrary number for audiences attending free shows  and had to defend its position.
In 2004 Peter Buckley-Hill and Laughing Horse Comedy went into partnership to promote free shows across the festival under the banner name "The Free Fringe". This partnership ended in 2006 however both organisations continue to promote free shows across the festival under the names PBH's Free Fringe and Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival (The Free Festival)
- Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Free Festival