The Edinburgh Fringe Festival Guide For Newcomers!
Since 1947 the Edinburgh Festical has occured every August becoming the world's largest arts festival. In 2016 there were over 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues over 25 days. Phew! This is one big festival - a really big festival! Often referred to as 'The Fringe', this festival incorporates every aspect of performing arts you can possibly imagine. From comedy (which it is famed for), theatre, dance, circus, caberet, children's shows, musicals, opera, spoken word, exhibitions .... the list is virtually limitless. As an event, this is one of the world's greatest.
So how do you begin to choose what to do?
Choice is either a wonderful concept or utterly bewildering if you haven't got a clue of where to start and what to look for. And for a festival of this size - I think you'd disturb me if you didn't find navigitating your way around the huge choice and variety of acts on offer a tad daunting around the edges.
Firstly begin by spending time looking at the official website. It's a really well thought-out site and the best place to to begin considering how to get your head around such a vast event.
Pre-order the programme and like a horse race - study the form! Tick off the acts that initially interest you and research the ones which intrigue you. Try and keep an open mind - the festival is there to be enjoyed but to also break down boundaries, broaden our knowledge, remove us from our comfort zone and therefore develop us further as indiviudals. Try one new thing which you have never previosuly experienced, you won't be alone and may well walk away surprised and impressed. But do your research first - you don't want to waste your time with acts you know you won't enjoy.
Ask friends who have already visted the festival and use forums - there's several online and all of them offer great advice and tips - these are the Yoda's amongst Fringe virgins - so learn from the best and use their knowledge!
Do not try to do all of the festival. Mainly because you will fail. Three to five shows a day is plenty, anymore and your brain will turn into a soggy lump of haggis. Try and spend some time just sitting and soaking up this truly unique atmosphere instead of running around like a crazed loon trying to see and experience everything. Firstly, that's just impossible, noone can truly see every part of the festival and secondly, you will miss out on so much if this is how you spend your timein Edinburgh. Give yourself time to kick back, enjoy the amazing food stalls and talk to people - you will find out a lot more of what is going on if you take the time to communicate to fellow festival goers.
Four Seasons In One Day
I don't think Crowded House wrote this song purely about Scottish weather - but you'd be forgiven for thinking they had. The saying in Edinburgh is there's no such thing as bad weather - just the wrong clothes. Stick with this sage proverb - and essentially think 'survivial'. Layers and goretex are essential to prevent either frostbite or prolific sweating the minute you leave the outdoor queues and hit the smaller indoor venues aka - sweat boxes. Trousers whose legs can be zipped off in a trice and turned into shorts are brilliant, lauyers that can be removed or added at will are essential, naturally a jumper and raincoat - you are in Scotland and a large rucksack to carry it all around in when the temperatures suddenly become tropical.
And finally, where to sleep once you've had enough!
Accommodation in Edinburgh gets booked up quickly for the month of August.
According to Hospitality and Catering News, September 2016, 'The resulting overall Average Room Rate (ARR) was £181.96 which marked the highest ARR Edinburgh figure on record since LJ Forecaster monitoring began over 10 years ago'.
There are a lot of options and again, consult forums from people who have stayed in the city during the festival previously. Also, think outside of the box (it is the festival afteral!) instead of limiting yourself to hostels or faceless, overpriced hotel rooms - try the universities.
All universities now rent their rooms out when the students are not in residence during the holidays. Perfect for the festival. And don't panic - the rooms are not squalid nasty looking holes. These are rather lush looking spaces complete with ensuites! Check out:
UniversityRooms.com offer three colleges to stay in Edinburgh during August. These are all city central with prices starting from just £36 a night.
Baird House, Edinburgh