There are probably two sporting events in the world that are bigger than the festival in terms of people ... the Olympics and the soccer World Cup, ... The soccer World Cup sold 2.7million tickets last year and we sold 2.6million between all the festivals.

This year we welcomed artists from Hollywood to Hong Kong and everywhere in between.

This year is, by common consent, the most political Fringe for a long time. It's not just theater. It's the comedians, dance, musical theater ? we've got musicals about the war on terror.

I love this connection between audience, performers and critics. We are the Olympics of the arts -- this is a career-defining moment. It is a real meeting of the minds but with much more alcohol and very much less sleep.

They will have to think through their scripts and make their own judgments just as newspaper editors and TV producers do.

It's a bit like your own birthday party. There's a moment at around 2 a.m. when you just want everybody to go home. But the next morning when you're alone with nothing to do but clean up the empty bottles, you miss them.

But sensitivities are certainly more acute this year.