Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 – Complete Survival Guide
Tips and tricks to help you survive and enjoy the worlds leading arts festival.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival is underway for the 70th time, making it the largest, longest-running arts festival in the world. The festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe, in-fact, during the month of August, Edinburgh’s population almost doubles, going from around 502,000 to a street-bursting 1.1m. With all the shows, people and activities it can be hard not to feel slightly overwhelmed by it all.
So, here is our quick survival guide to help you navigate your way through Edinburgh Fringe Festival and enjoy it.
Tip 1: Embrace the weird, wacky and wonderful.
The Fringe Festival, as you would expect, attracts a fair few interesting characters, whom at first, may be intimidating. Where are you likely to come across these people? Most likely, The Royal Mile. The long, historic road plays host to a bunch of eccentric street performers and ‘alternative artists’. You can expect to see the most pierced woman in the world, a man playing saws like violins, bagpipers and less-than-official characters from well-known franchises such as Star Wars, Pokemon and Lord of The Rings.
Be warned, if you stop to take a photo with/of a performer, some expect you to pay. Obviously, you don’t have to unless they have explicitly mentioned they only allow photos with/of them for a fee. However, even those without signs explaining the need for a cost expect you to pay anyway, and if you don’t, they can become unkind. It is very rare that this becomes the case.
Tip 2: Pack for anything and everything.
Edinburgh is famous for its rich history, famed authors and fascinating architecture – not it’s weather. So, be prepared for rain, wind and a kilt-frosting breeze. However, while the weather is usually glummer than summer, that does not mean you’ll be spending your trip soaked and cold. The weather can be as unpredictable as one of the many headlining comedians. One day it can be 24 degrees (Celsius) and not a cloud in the sky, then, the next day will be 8 degrees (Celsius) and pouring it down with rain – sometimes, these drastic changes aren’t days apart. They can be hours. One minute you’re eating an ice-cream from one of Edinburgh’s best ice-cream parlours, the next minute you’re ducking for cover from a sudden rain shower.
So, pack clothes for the sun and the rain. You may experience all the seasons in the space of a day.
Tip 3: Don’t just go to paid shows.
People commonly avoid the free shows, under the assumption that they are worse, only because they are ‘less exclusive’. But, paid shows are not always better, some free shows are among the best of the whole Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The reason some shows are free is simply that the artist/performer can’t afford to perform in the bigger venues or there just isn’t room in the time table.
Tip 4: Don’t overbook.
It’s tempting, we know. But don’t fill your days and nights with booked shows, you want to give yourself time to explore Edinburgh, and you never know what else may grab your attention last-minute. You will also need to take into consideration the distance between venues. You may have a show booked that finishes at 13:30 and then your next booked show starts at 13:45 but, it’s on the other side of town. Nobody wants to be the latecomer to a show, especially not a comedian/comedienne – unless you want them to mock you for the remainder of the performance.
Tip 5: Forget the Fringe.
You will start to tire of the festival. You will tire of drinking, laughing and sitting in a dark, crowded room. But don’t worry, you’re in Edinburgh, a city filled with stories, monuments and nature. So, take a breather from the shoulder-to-shoulder hustle of the Fringe and explore Edinburgh. Take a walk up Arthur’s Seat, browse one of the museums, visit Calton Hill or go on a historical tour to uncover the dark past of the city. After you’ve taken a break and taken in some of the beautiful scenery and fascinating history of the city you’ll be ready to jump back into the excitement of the Fringe.
Tip 6: Flyering will annoy you.
You cannot walk around Edinburgh during the fringe and not be handed a flyer/leaflet. It just can’t be done. For some reason, comics, actors, musicians and other performers rely on this age-old marketing method to spread awareness about their respective shows and performances. You can barely take more than a few steps before being greeted by an extended arm holding a flyer, attached to that arm is usually a member of the cast/crew of the advertised show, but often they are hired by the more famous acts to drum up some buzz. While there is no way to fully stop the annoyance of people offering you flyers left, right, centre and even diagonally. You can do subtle things to let the ‘flyerer’ know you aren’t interested in collecting an encyclopedic collection of Fringe show flyers. When you are eating, they tend to leave you alone, and when you tend to be in a rush, most people recognise that and don’t wish to slow you down by stopping you and talking about the show they are promoting. One thing that will attract more flyers than you can count is, you guessed it, flyers. Once a flyerer sees you accepting a flyer from someone else or sees you carrying a flyer, they will be next in line to stop you for a chat about ‘The show critics are calling the best of this years Fringe’.lyering can be annoying, but it is important to respect those handing them out. You never know, you may find a hidden gem of a show you would never have gone to because of a flyer. Keep in the spirit of the Fringe.
Flyering can be annoying, but it is important to respect those handing them out. You never know, you may find a hidden gem of a show you would never have gone to because of a flyer. Keep in the spirit of the Fringe.
Bonus Tip: Stay at one of The Edinburgh Collection’s city centre hotels.
Our Edinburgh accommodation includes the 5-star boutique hotel The Howard in Edinburgh’s New Town as well as one of the most renowned 4-star hotels in Edinburgh, Channings – your haven from the hustle and bustle of the festival. To this can be added the historic 3-star Old Waverley Hotel on Princes Street, right in the heart of all the August mayhem. The 4-star Holyrood apartHOTEL Serviced Apartments Edinburgh just off The Royal Mile, giving you easy access to some of the most renowned Fringe venues.
The Edinburgh Collection has recently welcomed a new hotel to their eclectic portfolio of city centre properties – Haymarket Hub Hotel. Located directly opposite Haymarket Railway Station, it is in a prime location to explore Edinburgh and stay connected with the Fringe. Guests are treated to a free complimentary smartphone during their stay and will have access to Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Sky Entertainment in their rooms – for free.