Come August and you would find us packing our bags and heading out to revel in the magic of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest arts festival held every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital.
This year, block your dates, pack your bags and head out to – The Fringe (Aug 5 - Aug 29).
Joie d’vivre…it’s a journey where music plays to your soul – sings to your core and draws you within its folds.
And if the arts scene is not enough – the journey to Edinburgh will take your breath away too. Whether by rail or road, via the Highlands or the Borders, the landscape is spectacularly breathtaking.
Behold the sight: Every year thousands of performers take to the stage at venues all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. The festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions and events.
Tips for first-time visitors to The Fringe:
1. First, pick up a free copy of the Fringe 2011 Programme. This 300+ pages guide to the festival is available at book stores, newsstands and main areas of the festival. You can also download the Fringe App for free (iPhone & Android phones)
2. With over 2400 shows held at more than 250 venues, choosing what to see can be daunting. Start by going through those sections of the guide which interest you the most – be it comedy, dance, music or any of the other categories.
Other ways to decide could be the dates of the shows, location of venues and ticket prices.
3. Free events: The Fringe hosts a number of free events – Watch as world class street shows, buskers and entertainers of every talent imaginable descend upon 12 performance spaces on the High Street section of the Royal Mile or catch free street theatre at the Mound Precinct.
For more info: http://www.freefringe.org.uk/
4. Visit the Half price hut (located at the Mound precinct) which is the place to grab a bargain. Thousands of tickets are available every day at half price. Open from 10 – 29 August, the Hut offers tickets only for the day of purchase. Information on what shows are on offer can be found at the Hut and through the Fringe App.
5. For almost all Fringe events, seating is on first-come, first served basis – Reach the venue at least 30 min prior to the show as the audience will start queuing up for seats.
6. Explore Edinburgh during the Fringe: Experienced local guides show you historic places, from the castle to Holyrood Palace, including narrow closes and secret gardens and relate stories of famous people who lived and died there. Or simply head out on your own and discover the magic of the land.
7. Wanderers unique Fringe experiences: Learn the art of wine tasting & appreciation, have a couple of beers, enjoy a show and unique stunning views.
8. Open your mind… and your heart
Edinburgh’s population triples during the festival, so that means there will quite a few people around. The good news is that you can always rely on a good ol’ British spirit – and queue – in the most unlikely of places!
Queues are a great place to make friends and get festival recommendations, so make the most of your time in line.
Keep a sense of humour about it all as you move around town and an open mind: swap any emerging ‘crowd rage’ for a lovely dose of ‘festival fever’.
9. Fringe not enough for you? Edinburgh also hosts 5 other summer festivals around the same time:
Edinburgh Art Festival (www.edinburghartfestival.org)
4 August-4 September
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (www.edintattoo.co.uk
Edinburgh International Festival (www.eif.co.uk)
12 August-4 September
Edinburgh International Book Festival (www.edbookfest.co.uk)
Edinburgh Mela Festival (www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk)
10. Most of all, just sit back, relax and enjoy the ambience – where else in the world would you find the whole city buzzing with festival spirit for 3 whole weeks?
By Priyanka Bhat
About Priyanka – When she is not traveling or daydreaming about her next trip, Priyanka enjoys reading, photography, running the Mumbai half-marathon & meeting new people. Her life’s purpose is to explore as many new places as she possibly can, during this lifetime.