If you ever wondered where all those black turtleneck wearing kids from drama class turned up, the answer is the Edinburgh Fringe. One of the biggest and theatrical festivals in the whole world; the ‘fringe’ as the lovies call it, has truly marked this classy Scottish city on the map.
When you hit an age where the idea of wading knee-deep in drunken bodies and mud doesn’t cut it anymore, then the fringe makes an amazingly alternative way to spend your august rather than indulging in festival season. We are talking a whole week crammed silly with indie plays, cabaret performers, comedians, acapella acts, workshops, and every single style of show imaginable.
Edinburgh is a goldmine of culture at the best of times, but come the Fringe and suddenly it's not even just the main player venues that throw open their doors. Pop-ups, pubs, and even just the corner street suddenly turns into a cacophony of first-class acts. But along with endless entertainment you can expect hordes of culture hungry revelers, fistfights to secure a hotel room, and many a mind-boggling schedule gripped tightly in indecisive hands. We are here to help you have a bonnie old time with our how to handle guide to the Edinburgh Fringe…
Sure, just rocking up without a plan may have served your holiday in Barcelona well, but when it comes to the Edinburgh Fringe this lack of a plan will only lead to tearing your hair out. There’s simply too much to see not to utilize your time in the best way possible. Like everything in the 21st century, the Edinburgh Fringe has an app; download it, check out the events, and pre-book your tickets.
But Save Space
While we are saying sit down and do a bunch of planning, be sure to work in some wriggle room for spontaneity. It may be an oxymoron, but if you plan to pack every second you may miss out on that impromptu improv sesh that’s the talk of the town. You will be handed a wealth of flyers, you will overhear conversations about the best underground shows in coffee shops, and you will see street performances at every turn.
Know Your Venues
The Royal Mile may be where much of the magic happens, but it's also important to extend your peripheral vision. The Edinburgh Fringe is hosted across a staggering three hundred venues. Hit up the pubs around The Grassmarket, head up to The Mound close to the castle, tour the George Square Gardens, and be sure to hunt down that purple cow lying on its back (it really is one of the best venues).
Hit Up The Hit List
Blend indie events with headline acts to get the best fringe experience. Eddie Izzard is set to perform a ninety-minute standup show around Dickens Great Expectations and we must say, forget great, we have grandiose expectations around this one. Inclusive dance company Candoco is another one to watch at the Emerald Theater, and Sheila Atim is set to steal hearts in the adaption of Bob Dylan drama ‘Girl from the North Country’. Lou Sanders won the title for best fringe comedy show last time and her new show ‘Say Hello to your New Step Mummy’ is sure to be equally articulate. Seayonce is leading the way for sensational drag artist and is not to be missed.
Get a Room
If you haven’t booked a room for the Fringe you may need to beg, borrow or bribe someone. The city gets booked up fast. The Sheraton is always a classy favorite for those looking to jump into the action at The Usher Hall, the endless buzz and party moods of Tigerlily are perfect for the Assembly Rooms, and The Witchery by Castle makes for an elegant romantic affair with the added bonus of being perched close to The Military Tattoo.
Go Beyond City Borders
If you have missed the boat on inner-city stays, then don’t be alarmed. Some of the nicest neighborhoods are in the suburbs and you can find hotels scattered across the likes of Morningside, Bruntsfield, and Comely Bank.
See the Sights
Chances are you may need a break from all that artistic interpretation and fortunately, Edinburgh has more than a few fringe benefits going for it. Declared the Athens of the North, you can explore the castle, climb the surrounding hills, hit up the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Botanic Gardens, partake in a whiskey tasting or two, or just leave the city chaos behind and head for the nearby lochs and glens.
On a final note; do not leave Edinburgh without tracking down the mythical battered mars bar, because really, how can you say you have truly lived until you have tried a chocolate bar cooked in the same way as a filet of cod?