The headline sponsor of this year’s Brighton Festival Fringe has been revealed.

Confirmation that car giant Citroën would back the event came as Friends of the Fringe and local VIPs gathered for the launch party at the Green Door Store in Trafalgar Street, Brighton, tonight.

Fringe bosses said the deal signalled the start of an “exciting relationship”.

Director Michael Bedingfield said: “Confirming Citroën as headline sponsor for 2011 provides a stunning platform for this year’s fringe to be better than ever.

“Citroën’s green credentials, independent spirit and history of innovation are a perfect match for the Fringe.

“I see this as the start of an exciting relationship which will produce new and surprising ideas and events.”

The car manufacturer follows in the footsteps of First Capital Connect which sponsored the festival for the last three years.

Marc Raven from Citroën said: “We are delighted to support the Brighton Festival Fringe this year and it’s a perfect partnership for Citroën.

“We’ve got a reputation for creativity, stylish designs and also for eco friendly vehicles, as illustrated by the beautiful DS3 range and our all-electric C-Zero.

“We’re all looking forward to the event and to bringing a bit of fun, flair and individuality along for the occasion.”

This year Brighton Festival Fringe, the world’s third largest fringe festival, runs from May 7 to 30.

As part of the partnership Citroën, along with fringe visual arts sponsor artrepublic, will put on a live art event during the fringe.

Andrew Milledge, marketing director of artrepublic, said: “We’re thrilled to add 2011 to the many years that artrepublic has supported the fringe and with a very special art event in the pipeline with Citroën, this year’s visual arts programme looks set to be the most exciting yet.”

Other key sponsors this year include local charity The Pebble Trust and Hendrick’s gin.

Hendrick’s will bring a new literature venue, a converted 19th Century rail carriage called The Horseless Carriage of Curiosities.

The company is also supporting the New Writing South Best New Play award, which will see the writer of the best new play at Fringe 2011 awarded £200 and a year’s membership to New Writing South.

Southern Water will once again be sponsoring Fringe City, the free outdoor entertainment showcase, every weekend.

Tickets for the fringe go on sale tomorrow online to Friends of the Fringe, who will benefit from exclusive 2-4-1 ticket offers as well as a priority booking period and no booking fee.

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For a full report of the highlights of this year’s Brighton Festival Fringe, see tomorrow’s Argus.