Step into the biggest celebration of arts and culture on Earth
Edinburgh’s Fringe Fest, or “the Fringe,” takes over this historic city each year in August when thousands of performers and festival-goers come together to celebrate the arts. From theatre and comedy to circus and cabaret, musicals and opera to dance and children’s shows, every corner of Edinburgh exudes colour, creativity and passion. Everyone is welcome at this open access festival, meaning anyone can perform, so you’re guaranteed to be entertained. With nearly 24 hours a day of performances and over 3,500 shows to choose from, it’s impossible to see everything. To make the most of your time, we’ve compiled the top tips for joining in on the fun at Edinburgh’s Fringe Fest!
Plan ahead of time
Creating your itinerary can feel like a daunting task when everyone from the biggest names in entertainment to lesser-known artists looking to build their fanbase are all vying for your attention. We recommend taking an afternoon before the festival begins to browse through the list of performances online or through the official Fringe app. You can narrow down your options using start time, genre or location filters to easily plan out your day. Of course, the time-honoured highlighter and paper program option is always available, too.
Choose the right shows for you
Many of the shows’ only advertisements are their show posters displayed around the city, so keep an eye out for any names, titles or photos that draw your attention. If you’re unsure if a show is the right choice for you, do a quick internet search of the company or show to see if their style matches your interest. However, it’s best to go into any show with an open mind and be willing to try anything. It’s fun and exciting to break out of your comfort zone, and you might be surprised at what shows end up being your favourites!
Pre-book tickets to save time
You can pre-book tickets for shows on the app or online and easily stop in to one of many convenient ticket spots around the city to print everything at once. Instead of spending extra time finding each individual box office, you can use that time to explore all Edinburgh has to offer. If you have some free time, simply wander the picturesque streets of the city until you come across one of the many street performers putting on a show. These exciting impromptu performances bring a large-scale carnival feel to the city, so even simply killing time is entertaining.
Discounted and free shows
If you’re a traveler who prefers to plan as they go, the Virgin Money Half Price Hut is the place to be for finding amazing bargains. During the festival, you can visit the Hut or browse on the official Fringe app and website for half-price ticketed shows available for that day and the following morning. There are also many free, ticketless shows advertised around the city, but we recommend arriving at least half an hour beforehand to guarantee a spot. However, please keep in mind that although they are advertised as free, they’re generally more “pay what you think they’re worth.” Have some small bills on hand to make a contribution to the artist or performer at the end of the show.
Explore the city
Fringe Fest has enough entertainment to last a lifetime, but don’t forget to explore the city as well. Filled with beauty, history and charm, Edinburgh has so much to offer. Our favourite spots include Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill. While you’re there, why not capture a bit of Scotland magic with one of our talented Edinburgh photographers who can’t wait to meet you!