HUNDREDS of thousands of people will descend on Brighton for the country’s biggest arts event.

They will be able to listen to the Dutch Poet Laureate or have custom-made classical music beamed into their ears.

Tickets for the Brighton Fringe, which runs alongside Brighton Festival, are now on sale to members and general sale opens next Friday.

The programme of more than 5,000 performances and events takes place in the city throughout May.

Last year’s event saw some 600,000 people visit and bring an estimated £20 million to the local economy. There were more than 4,500 performances and events, from cabaret to theatre workshops.

New this year is an international zone at The Spire theatre where a selection of award-winning events from the Amsterdam Fringe will be on show between May 21 and 31.

This includes the Dutch Poet Laureate Onais Landveld’s show Roots And Cassava, as well as ten one-on-one performances from classical music producers K&A, custom-tuned for each audience member’s ears.

There are several award-

winning shows from fringe festivals around the world and the event’s “Freedom Season” continues with 100 events offering additional accessibility for audiences with disabilities.

This year’s Fringe takes place in more than 170 venues across the city. Many are hosting events for the first time, including The Rotunda, a new pop-up theatre in Regency Square and pubs including The Bee’s Mouth and The Walrus.

Chief executive Julian Caddy said: “It’s always a privilege to witness the launch of ticket sales for a new Brighton Fringe season.

“It represents both the culmination and development of the creative work of thousands of people. And as England’s largest arts event, it offers a unique snapshot into the cultural consciousness of the nation.

“It is not only a chance to have a great time in the company of some of the best live performers around, but it also exists as a platform to support artists at every stage of their careers.

“The importance of Brighton Fringe is not just that it’s the largest festival. It is vital that we also strive to be the best, becoming more accessible, more inclusive and more diverse. I’m delighted with the assembly of talent on offer this year and can’t wait for May.”

The full programme is available at Tickets are available on the website or at the Box Office on 01273 917272.