Since coming back from my trip to Scotland one of the most frequently asked questions about my time there is “what exactly is the Fringe?”
It’s a fair question, one that I still struggle to answer even after having spent 3/4 of a month attending it. The Sparknotes version I suppose is that it’s when the city of Edinburgh is swallowed in one gluttonous gulp by the arts, thousands of productions in hundreds of venues- hoooboy. There is an overwhelming feeling that washes over you when you first pick up a Fringe festival guide (they are fo’ free and can be found all over the city on various locations) or access the Fringe website, with thousands of shows across nearly every single creative medium how do you choose?!
My approach (because I know you were dying to know) was to start on the website and just browse, this was both a bad and a good idea. I was able to find several performances I might not have picked, such as a production of an opera about Orpheus sung in Scots or an early morning concert of Mozart where you get scones and pastries after the performance, however I also bookmarked over 100 productions I wanted to see. This would obviously not be possible, so I set about the task of narrowing down my selections pacing myself to three shows max per day. Now some may have gawked at three shows a day, but really for Fringe goers that’s on the low end- I had a conversation with someone who was about to see their tenth show that day. For me I max out at three shows, after that I’m basically paying to sit in a room filled with people I don’t know. For the actual ordering the tickets I created a profile on the Fringe website. This is super helpful because if you have the Fringe App (it’s not required in order to attend events at the Fringe but BOY OH BOY is it helpful) it can keep track of the shows you are going to see as well as let you know about shows happening near you. Buying my tickets online was easy-peasy and the website makes it a no pain process. There are ticket collection points and hubs all over the city, I used the one on High St which also functions as the official Fringe headquarters. Just as a cautionary bit of advice High St is SUPER crowded, I mean like one-time-I-was-so-blocked-in-I-couldn’t-move-my-arms crowded so those with aversions or sensitivities to large crowds should seek another collection point. You can also purchase tickets at the venues, it’s really a case of dealers choice.
Here is a list of just some of the shows I had the chance to see:
During my time in Edinburgh I was able to see over 30 shows ranging from comedy to classical to cabaret, and to be honest I still had shows I wanted to see. It was one of the best experiences I have had the opportunity to have, and I’m already planning on returning for Fringe 2017.
For those who want a completely immersive experience into the Arts, and also want to get to know a culture and a people I have fallen in love with over and over time and time again the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a must.