Each week, Gadling is taking a look at our favorite festivals around the world. From music festivals to cultural showcases to the just plain bizarre, we hope to inspire you to do some festival exploring of your own. Come back each Wednesday for our picks or find them all HERE.
Known as the “largest festival on Earth“, Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival has something for everyone. From students donning kilts wanting to groove to the newest Jazz singers to street performers on stilts, this annual festival is an adventure where the energy flows into the streets and makes everyone feel like a performing artist for the day. The Fringe has come a long way: from its 1947 beginnings with only eight theater companies, to the present day festival, which sells over 1.8 million tickets each year! Tourists now travel from around the globe to experience this extraordinary event.
Begun by the Festival Fringe Society as an “open access festival” allowing unrestricted exhibition by anyone interested in performing, the modern version of the festival now features some of the world’s most unique and avant-garde artistic and theatrical pursuits. The shows range from dramatic Shakespeare told from the perspective of dinosaurs to puppets singing show tunes. However, the performances are only half of the experience that comes along with the price of the ticket. What else happens at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? Keep reading below.
With over 34,000 performances taking place over three weeks, the word ‘venue’ takes on a whole new meaning at the Edinburgh Fringe. The performance spaces range from a traditional stage to more progressive bars to classrooms with floor seating to places not so appealing like toilets!
Shows start all throughout the day and run long into the night, so every attendee should pick up a program. Treat the program like your tour guide for the length of your visit. Inside you’ll get reviews, a synopsis and location information for each show. Grab a scone and your program and hike up to Arthur’s Seat, the highest point in the city, for a panoramic city view and chart out each day. Since performances vary a great deal in length and are located all throughout the city, double check your times and locations before buying tickets.
Though the offerings of the Fringe Festival change every year, the one show that is on the top of every must-see list is the Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle, a 90-minute celebration lead by over a thousand musicians and ending with fireworks. Tickets for the event are in high demand every year, so make sure to buy those tickets in advance. When it’s over, walk to a pub and have yourself a “dram” of Scotch while trying the Haggis (a Scottish tradition of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs mixed with spices) and tasting the tatties (potatoes). Like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it’s a one-of-a-kind Scottish experience!