Surviving the Fringe: A First Timer’s Experience

I had no idea what we were in for when we booked our weekend in Edinburgh this year.  I’d vaguely heard of the Fringe, but mostly wanted to see the famous military tattoo, which we’d booked tickets for in January.  (This might have been overkill, but we got great seats and a lot of the shows were sold out, so better safe than sorry). Due to bad weather and being super busy, I realized I don’t have any decent photos! 

One of my friends had a business trip that conveniently let her fly in to Edinburgh that weekend, so we met up and headed out for a weekend of varied performances around the city.  The amount of people handing out flyers and selling tickets was incredible.  Every genre, every type of entertainment you could imagine is available.  There really is something for everyone at the fringe, from strip teases to classical ballet, poetry slams and high school theatre, the options seem endless.  For this reason, I’d recommend checking out your options online ahead of time.  Online, or you can order a catalog.  After the first week or so, all the shows have reviews, so you can check out which are worth seeing.  Hint: If its free and it has less than 4 stars, don’t bother.  Seriously.

We stuck to comedy, and saw some skits, a musical comedian, two stand up’s and a dark comedic play.  They ranged from hilarious to cringeworthy.  All were free (although bring a lot of pound coins/loose change because you WILL be asked for donations at the end of every performance.  Be prepared.)  There is also a range in venue quality, some felt legitimate, others  felt like were abandoned night club basements.  I kid you not.  Luckily, most shows are only an hour, so if it’s bad it isn’t that long.

When it came time for the late night military tattoo performance, unfortunately it was pouring rain.  The tickets aren’t refundable, but the show did go on, and we watched, in ponchos, for several hours getting soaked to the bone.  The music and dancing was phenomenal, and the highlight is definitely the end when a lone piper plays from the rampart of Edinburgh castle.  So be prepared for any kind of weather or conditions in the performance areas!

Have you been to the fringe or another arts festival?

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. We went to the military tattoo and festival years ago and like you booked our tickets the January before. I just loved every second of the whole experience. What a shame it rained, we had lovely weather which definitely makes a difference. Your post has made me keen to go back and do this again!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you are able to do it again! I want to go back as well! Seems like they change the performance a bit every year, and the echo of pouring rain on my poncho was a bit distracting from the music!

      Liked by 1 person

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