Debutante at the Fringe? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. From what to pack to where to go, check out this handy guide from an experienced (sort-of) Edinburgher.
Comfy shoes: A must when running around Edinburgh, trying to get to your next show. If they’re waterproof, even better. It will rain. Speaking of rain…
Pac-a-mac: Don’t even try putting an umbrella up. People will hate you. Especially if you stop without warning in the middle of North Bridge to put it up. Your handy old stuff-it-in-a-bag raincoat will be your new best friend. Usually reserved for festivals and your family’s terribly-timed BBQ, dig it out and keep it with you at all times.
A fan: Fringe rooms are hot, cramped and uncomfortable. But mainly hot. Bring one with you, or fashion one out of the biggest flyer you can find. Bonus points if it doesn’t make a noise or is big enough to fan the people sat either side of you.
How many shows you see: Don’t go overboard on your show schedule. Try not to do more than 5 shows in a day. I know there’s shows 24/7 and they’re normally only an hour, but squeeze in more than 5 and you’ll run out of steam by show 3. You’ll enjoy shows more and will still feel sprightly the next day. Sitting in dark rooms in August can really take it out of you.
Where your shows are: Know where you’re going and give yourself time between shows. On a tight schedule? You definitely don’t have time to ask for directions. If you’re going to a show at one of the Big Four (Pleasance, Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Underbelly), check what venue you’re actually supposed to be at. All of these occupy different buildings across Edinburgh and you don’t want to be frantically running from George Square Gardens to the Mound. Most won’t let latecomers in either, so don’t waste your money!
When to take time out: Don’t be afraid to say, “This is too much”. Fringe, and Edinburgh in general, can get a bit intense. Accept that you can’t physically see every single show. Take time for yourself, get away from the centre of town and eat some vegetables.
Take a chance: Collect flyers, go see Free Fringe, look at the time and see what’s nearby. Granted not everything you come across will be solid gold, but that show in that dingy pub at the far end of the Royal Mile, that’s the one that might surprise you.
Take advantage: The Virgin Money Half-Price Hut next to the National Gallery sells tickets for £££s off!
Enjoy: Most importantly, have a great time! And if you see anything brilliant/surprising, tweet me (@apollyglynn) because I like recommendations too.
Words and images: Polly Glynn