'Time to treasure the Fringe'
"If they can't organise the business of their own meeting, how on earth can they organise a huge festival", muttered the lady behind me.
She has a point. The Fringe Society, set up almost 50 years ago when the Fringe was just a fraction of the size of today's event, seems at times like a parish council meeting.
There are only 78 members across the Fringe, the board itself - chaired by Baroness Smith - is a mix of performers, promoters, venue directors and well meaning individuals who just want to do their bit.
Their AGM is more heated than most because of the chaos caused by the box office system which the board agreed earlier this year. It's not helped that before any questions can be heard, the whole meeting is adjourned to vote some new members onto the board, while some members are complaining they haven't received their papers.
The question most people want answered is why the box office system wasn't tried out in advance of June when it was used in anger. Board member Simon Fanshawe says they shouldn't answer the question ahead of the inquiry into the box office, a team is due to be appointed shortly and they'll report back in November.
"We made a decision we thought right - why would we take a decision we knew wouldn't be right for the Fringe?," he says.
"It was wrong and we now have to move forward and learn from our mistakes."
Bill Burdett Coutts, director of the Assembly Rooms, wanted an apology.
"I think the board should apologise for bringing this festival to the brink of disaster. If it hadn't been for the box office of our venue and the other three big venues, everyone would have been in trouble."
Others went further. Tomek Borkowy of Universal Arts said he thought the entire board should resign and start again from scratch.
"It's not acceptable to say they cannot answer these questions till after the review. This is a whitewash."
Tommy Shepherd, director of the Stand and one of five new Fringe Society Board members elected says he's aware the Fringe Society has a massive challenge ahead but he says he believes it can be done.
"There are lots of different issues to be considered, including the work of the Fringe Society itself, but we have to work together, all the various people who make this festival what it is."
But Mike Duffy of St Ninian's Hall doesn't believe the concerns were taken seriously.
"I just don't think the board realised what a serious situation this is for all the people who put so much work into this festival. They need to look at moving this festival forward and if they can't do that, they should let someone else do the job."
Former Pleasance director Christopher Richardson referred back to a previous box office disaster which led to his venue making their own tickets.
"Our system lasted 18 and a half minutes and we spent the rest of the time writing out our tickets. Even today's problems aren't as bad as that. I'd urge people not to let go of nurse for finding something worse. We ought to treasure the fringe and we ought to keep the Fringe Society."