Newest Review: ... seem to grow year on year. The free shows are often where some hidden gems can be found. Most of the acts have paid to fund the show ou... more
Edinburgh at its Best
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Member Name: hunts1874
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Advantages: Something for Everyone
Disadvantages: Accommodation is Hard to Come By
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place every August for around 3 weeks and it's the biggest arts festival in world. For these 3 weeks every inch of spare space is transformed into a Fringe Venue. From established venues and theatres to open spaces such as Bristo Square which hosts the E4 Udderbelly every year the city is vibrant and the atmosphere is fantastic.
For me and for many like me the Fringe means comedy, but it is actually so much more than that. Shows during the festival range from comedy, children's shows, cabaret, music, musicals, opera, theatre, arts - the whole lot. There really is something for everyone and people of all ages from across the globe will find something to do in Edinburgh during the Fringe.
The organisers of the Fringe do a fantastic job in ensuring that the Fringe Festival is accessible to everyone. There are shows to suit all budgets and in recent years there has been an increasing number of free shows which seem to grow year on year. The free shows are often where some hidden gems can be found. Most of the acts have paid to fund the show out of their own pockets and for those who aren't lucky enough to be one of the star names on show that is no easy task. Therefore they often use the free shows as a way to promote themselves.
As well as free shows there are also a number of shows which are available for around £5. One of my favourite venues which normally runs £5 comedy is the Tron pub at Hunter Square. Hunter Square is situated just off North Bridge. There a plenty of buses, such as the 3 and 33 which you can pick up from the centre of town or do the up hill 15 - 20 minute walk.
The first week of the Fringe sees many acts offer 2-4-1 on tickets to see their shows and increasingly more common are free view shows the weekend before the Fringe officially starts where you can pick up tickets that are heavily discounted.
For those looking for something else other than comedy the big shows that spring to mind are the Ladyboys of Bangkok who have a show every year and they normally host this from a venue in the meadows. There is also usually some sort of circus near Ocean Terminal, Leith. This is also where you will find some excellent shopping and the Royal Yacht Britannia. There is also a vast array of Street Theatre. The pick of it for me can be found on the famous Royal Mile. There is usually plenty of street performers plying their trade through out the day and they normally ask for a small donation at the end of their performance.
Accommodation is at a premium during this time and it can often be expensive and hard to come by. However, a good place to check for affordable accommodation is with Edinburgh's Universities, Edinburgh, Napier and Heriot-Watt as they lease out Halls of Residence during August for around £40 a night.
The Fringe also brings with it extended opening hours and the pubs will stay open until 3am and clubs are open until 5am. There are plenty of Late night shows that run into the wee small hours that take advantage of the extended opening times. My top tip would be to check out Late n Live which I have had the pleasure of seeing many of the big names of today when they were looking for their big break. Late n Live can be found at Teviot which is a Gilded Balloon venue, just off Potterow. There are also some great outdoor bar gardens in and around this area for those long, occasionally sunny, Scottish nights.
I have been attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the past 10 years and it's a truly fantastic month to be in the city of Edinburgh. For me it's better than the month of December when the famous Hogmanay Street Party, German Markets etc take place. August and the Fringe is the highlight of my year as an Edinburgh Resident.
As a rule of thumb, I would say that if you are short of time you should see at least 1 act that you have never heard of as well as one you have heard off. Many up and coming stars ply their trade in the early days in Edinburgh so you could be watching the next big thing.
Summary: One for the bucket list