The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s greatest arts festival, gets underway on our doorsteps this week.
We’re just a short train ride away from thousands of shows performed round the clock every day throughout August.
So here’s our guide to surviving the madness that is the Fringe ...
One word – walk! You’ll go faster than the traffic ...
Get a train to Edinburgh, then hoof it round the city.
All the main venues are within reasonable walking distance – the Gilded Balloon and George Square are neighbours, Summerhall is a short walk, and the Pleasance is a couple of blocks away.
Google Maps will be your best pal come August!
Use the apps:
The Fringe, and Free Fringe, have fantastic apps which tell you what’s on, what’s coming up next, and where the discounted tickets can be nabbed.
They’ll also let you know what is started in the next 15 minutes onwards, making it easy to grab an impromptu show.
Download ‘Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017’ and ‘PHB Fringe’ for the free.
Key websites are www.edfringe.com and www.freefestival.co.uk and freefringe.org (there are two free festivals – don’t ask!)
How to save cash:
Check the daily offers at the Half Price Hut at The Mound. Be prepared to queue, but keep checking the electronic boards for what’s on offer – time it right and you can get a bargain.
Pick up the brochures, and search out the ‘two for one’ shows – there are stacks of ‘em!
Join Friends of the Fringe - you can easily recoup the fee in the savings you make, and you get an invite to a wee party at the Virgin HQ where there are Fringe acts and a wee gin or two to enjoy.
Free shows ain’t free:
Custom dictates you drop some dosh in the performer’s hat as you leave. Don’t be a meanie!
Best venues include the Voodoo Rooms, behind the swanky Apple Store on Princes Street. They do good food there too!
Bottles of water! Venues are bloomin’ hot and packed.
Take a gamble:
Don’t opt for the ‘big names’ – pick a show at random
And there’s so much more than stand-up comedy to be enjoyed.
Check the reviews – scotsman.com and fifetoday.co.uk are good starting points! (gotta plug our own teams!) – and pick up the myriad of review publications, or simply take a pot luck from one of the brochures.
And never under estimate a word of mouth recommendation while queueing for tickets ...
Gilded Balloon at Bristo Square has the best hideaway bar (sharp right, downstairs – ace food, cool balcony for people watching) The Pleasance courtyard is a great meet and greet place, George Square is unbeatable on a sunny day, while Summerhall – the old Dick Vet building at the Meadows – is a gem worth exploring. It even has its own gin distillery!