The yearly Edinburgh Fringe Fest is not for the faint of heart. No matter how much people try to ‘pace themselves’ on day one, inevitably most will reach the end of the line wiped out beyond belief. But in a good way, of course! The largest art celebration on the planet may be a colossal handful even if tackled with military style precision, yet the rewards of attending this absolutely mind-blowing, excessively fun festival is not to be dismissed. The only bummer about going home with the mother-of-all-hangovers is the fact that most only remember some of it.
What started as an impromptu alternative to the more upmarket (and mainstream) Edinburgh International Festival has grown into a kaleidoscope of talent shows; spanning four weeks, hosting thousands of performers from over three dozen countries the world over. There are non-stop dance parties, extravagant theatre productions, innumerable comedy shows and more music concerts than most people could attend in a lifetime. If it’s hypnotic, catchy, loud, colourful and captivating...you’re bound to see it at the Fringe.
Here are our best tips on how to get in, revel like mad, and come out in one piece. Because when it comes to adrenalin pumping, adventure activities, the Edinburgh Fringe Fest is right up there with the best of ‘em.
Book your accommodation way in advance
When we said that the Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest art festival in the world, we also meant it’s the most popular too. Accommodation prices are high enough as it is and nearly everything books out months in advance. The Fringe is not something one chooses to attend on a last-minute whim. Some hard-core revellers make their bookings about a week after they return home from the last festival, so take that hint and make sure you’re not left disappointed. Moreover the earlier you book the more chances you have of finding suitable accommodation, which suits your budget, close to the city centre. This will likely save you a ton on taxi fares. But...
Don’t overbook events
Whilst it’s safe to say you’ll need a bed to sleep on every night during the festival (OK, even this is debatable), it’s worthwhile not to over-estimate your stamina and your ability to attend 125 concerts on the one night. You must factor in chill out time, as well as the odd sleep-in now and then. Remember that slower pace? Adopt it!
It is also worth remembering that it is impossible to ‘guess’ which of the new shows will be BIG on any given year. This is something which is usually only revealed as the festival progresses, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of free days and nights to grab last minute tickets to new & exciting events.
Get to know the guide and map
Get your hands on the Edinburgh Fringe Guide as soon as it’s released, usually in June each year. We really can’t stress enough how genial it is to plan your visit before you leave home. This can only be done with a guide...and a map.
Accept the fact that you can’t do it all
Inevitably you will realize that two of your most anticipated shows...will be on at the same time. Suck it up! There’s absolutely no reason to mope about; instead, you need to make a choice. A wise man once said that when faced with an impossible choice one must toss a coin. Not because the coin knows better, but because the moment the coin is in the air you will know, in your heart, which side you wish for it to land on. Worth a try, don’t you think?
Only pack sensible walking shoes
It may matter to you now that your lovely sandals match your belt and necklace, but trust us when we tell you that at 3am on day four you will wish you could just chuck them right into a huge bonfire and make a ritual out of it. The Fringe Fest is not your average party; you should think of it as a test of human endurance. Unless you won last year’s Amsterdam High Heel Race, then you should definitely only pack comfy shoes.