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A Beginner’s Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe

History of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe began in 1947, when eight groups of performers arrived in Edinburgh hoping to perform at the first ever Edinburgh International Festival. Due to the strict criteria for entering the International Festival, they were refused entry. But rather than being discouraged, they performed on the fringe of the festival instead. And so, in their daring defiance, a cultural phenomenon was born. An arts festival at which anyone can perform, with no audition or selection process.

Now in its 72nd year, the Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, and festival fever is once again taking Edinburgh by storm. With its diverse nature, you’ll find the weird, the wonderful and the downright bizarre here in Edinburgh this August, along with some of the biggest names in comedy and the arts. So if this is your first visit, we’ve put together a quick guide to surviving the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019: the alliance of defiance!

What To Expect At The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Every August, for three weeks, Edinburgh welcomes an explosion of creativity from around the world. Thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages across Edinburgh, putting on the greatest arts show the world has ever seen. All of Edinburgh is a stage as every cobbled street and winding close has the potential to hold a show-stopping performance.

Who To See At This Year’s Fringe?

An easier question to answer would be who not to see! From big names in the entertainment industry to newbie performers looking to launch their career in the Fringe spotlight, the Festival Fringe caters for every taste imaginable. Theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, operas, exhibitions and events are all on offer.

Well-known acts for 2019 include Al Murray, Ed Byrne, Danny MacAskill, Frank Skinner and The Faulty Towers Dining Experience, with more to be announced soon. But don’t forget to check out something new too. You never know who you might discover! 

Simply choose your category and find a performance. You can pre-book your tickets to avoid disappointment.

Where To Catch The Weird And Wonderful

With thousands of performances across hundreds of venues throughout the city, finding the weird and the wonderful is a full-time job. So for the duration of your Fringe visit, the festival programme and app will become your best friends. They will tell you what’s on where, and how to make the most of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019. But a good rule of thumb is: the Royal Mile is a great spot to catch the weird, while Fringe reviews will shed some light on where to find the wonderful, unmissable performances.

How To Fringe On A Budget

You can get the full Fringe experience for free on the Royal Mile. So give yourself plenty of time to wander the Old Town cobbled streets that encompass the very spirit and essence of the festival. Sure, you will be bombarded with flyer-wielding actors and promoters peddling their shows to the masses. But you will also be able to see them perform excerpts from their shows. Then simply visit the Half Price Hut and get tickets for the shows you want to see at, well, half price. Alternatively, you can visit PBH’s Free Fringe – a donation-based Fringe experience where you can watch the best free shows the Fringe has to offer!

What Else to See

If you’re visiting the Festival Fringe this August, don’t forget to visit the other amazing festivals on at the same time. Such as the original International Festival that started it all, the spectacle that is the Royal Military Tattoo, and the brilliant Book Festival

Where to Stay

So there you have it. A beginner’s guide to surviving the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019! Remember to book your accommodation early, as Edinburgh hotel rooms fill up fast over August! If you’re looking for Festival accommodation close to all the action, check out our Festival Fever special offer. 

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