The Edinburgh Fringe festival requires no introduction. It is the world’s largest arts festival and in 2014 will see 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues across one of the world’s most picturesque and historic cities.
As if this weren’t enough, August in Edinburgh is also host to a separate Visual Arts Festival, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo, The International Festival, and the Edinburgh Book Festival.
For a whole month Scotland’s capital city is a sensory explosion. The city’s population doubles, creating a maelstrom of theatre, thought, art and comedy.
And in any list of bizarre festivals, The Fringe can hardly be forgotten. The undisputed King and Joker of the Edinburgh festivals, The Fringe turns the beautiful city into a bubbling cauldron of strange. On stage you can expect to see the most innovative, boundary pushing theatre and comedy while out on the streets the people leafleting for the shows will do anything to distinguish their shows from the crowd. One guy had even become so post-modern as to be simply handing out blank pieces of paper containing “absolutely no information”.
A walk along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile can be as entertaining and bizarre as any of the shows you’ll pay to see.
Also on the increase in the last few years is the Free Fringe with over 800 ‘Free/pay-what-you-want’ shows in some of the Fringe’s most incredible, labyrinthine venues.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is colour and energy; it is a month of sleepless nights for those involved and a wonderland of opportunity for those attending. Be prepared for anything, from stages inside an enormous, upside down purple cow to being taught the Theory of Relativity using only plastic beer cups while on the top storey of a bus so that you can deflect the conversation of any German who wants to talk about the World Cup.
Add The Fringe to your bucket list, buy a ticket to Scotland, take a deep breath, dive in, and you’ll never look back.
For more information on The Fringe, check out the festivals’ only dedicated podcast, Hanging at the Fringe for your bite-size look beyond the forth wall.
WHAT: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival et al
WHERE: In every nook and crevice of Edinburgh, Scotland
WHEN: In 2014, 1st – 25th August
HOW MUCH: Various – from as free as you want to ~£20
WHY: It’s like walking into the overactive hive mind of all the world’s comedians and thespian.