Are you an art fanatic wondering how to prepare for Edinburgh Festival Fringe?”
We will look at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a highly anticipated event by people of the art world. Whether you have heard about this festival or not, do stay till the end of this article, as it would certainly make your trip to Edinburgh a memorable one.
What is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe about?
Edinburgh Festival Fringe was created by a bunch of rebels in 1947 when they were not invited to the Edinburgh International Festival, which was the official event at that time. As decades passed, the Fringe eventually placed at number three, ranking it as one of the most ticketed events to happen around the world.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a performing arts festival that takes place in August every year, established as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival.
For example, the upcoming Fringe will be running from August 5th – August 29th, 2022, going on the span of three weeks and the festival’s 75th anniversary.
Fun Fact about Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- There are no other events like the Festival Fringe, which makes it a good opportunity for you to visit.
- They have their time zone called the ‘Fringe Time’.
- It will take you up to eight years to fully complete their available programs!
- Whilst the festival is free of charge, you are more than welcome to spend some money to buy a ticket, as your donations will go to charity.
- The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is a registered charity that focuses a lot on its work for the deaf and disabled. They are also the company that organizes the structure that underpins the actual festival.
- Support would usually come from sponsors or patrons such as yourself, combined with the goodwill of Fringe Friends and Angels.
Things to Expect During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
As this is not a restricted event, artists and performers from all over the world are allowed to come by and express their art forms freely. Making it a much more fun experience for the artist and audiences to intermingle with one another. In the list that I have provided below, you will also find the different types of acts and exhibitions to look out for.
- Physical Theatre
- Children’s Shows
- Spoken Word
- Exhibitions & Events
Now don’t worry if you find the details too vague, as the program booklet shown below will cover most of the festivities. The standard edition of this booklet can be delivered straight to your doorstep, with a shipping fee of £6. Ultimately if you are venturing outside of Edinburgh, and around the UK, you may pop by the Fringe shop, which has a few locations listed on the festival’s website.
How To Be In Edinburgh Festival Fringe
If you are not keen to visit as a patron, then you may want to consider applying as an artist, or volunteer, which could allow you to look inside the art world. It would also allow you to build connections with other people, and boost your credibility or experience when applying for a job. In the following points below, I will be going through with you what it takes to be an artist/volunteer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Taking part as an artist
Joining the festival as an artist is one of the most fun ways for you to build up your stage presence! And this is partly due to the open access for people to explore their creative journeys. Despite all the good parts to becoming an artist, there are also a few components that you should consider, before deciding to host your show.
- To save up some extra cash, as you will need to fund your trip, and find your place of accommodation.
- Set up rehearsals in your own country to practice, before applying to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as an artist.
- Research goes a long way! Ensure that you have properly budgeted your finances, as you will need to look out for venue space, and a place to practice.
- This may be an optional point, but if your show requires a lot of technical work like animation, lighting, and sound, then you may want to consider hiring a technical crew to ease any difficulties that might happen.
- Have a schedule ready at hand, as this would help you to plan out what needs to be done before and after the show.
- Most importantly, mingle around and have fun!
If you are ever doubting yourself, I would like to leave you with a quote from a famous Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso:-
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”
Volunteering for the Edinburgh Fringe
Let us now touch on the volunteering aspect of this festival! For starters, if you would like to volunteer for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, then the best place for you to be would be Paradise Green. This non-profit organization is run by unpaid volunteers, and directors, that come from a range of backgrounds.
These individuals are also united through a love for theatre, and the performing arts, that offers a wealth of experience and expertise, in every aspect of small-scale professional and non-professional theatre. Most of these people also hold full-time and part-time jobs in the creative industries.
Paradise Green’s website states that they are looking for “enthusiastic, friendly, and hard-working volunteers to join their team within a span of two to four weeks, to experience the Fringe and meet like-minded people during the volunteering process.” Shift timing is also given to each volunteer, and will vary during the week, to ensure that every person will get a chance to see the city and experience the festival. There will also be a full day off during each running week that you work for Paradise Green.
Volunteers are responsible for handling their travel expenses, except for people that are volunteering at the start of week 0, and leaving Edinburgh at the end of week 4. Paradise Green also can arrange for transportation to/from Manchester.
Lodging is provided for volunteers in several rented flats. Paradise Green seeks to ensure that all of these rented flats are close by, and located in the Marchmont area of the city. This would be a walk of 15 minutes or so across the meadows, that are located by the venues. Most of these rooms that are provided by Paradise Green will do their best to accommodate couples and friends in the same room or flat, but cannot be guaranteed, as there are other nights where new volunteers will be coming.
It may also be necessary for some volunteers to spend a night in a hostel room by Paradise Green, or in a sleeping bag placed on a sofa in one of the rented flats. Bedding, sleeping bags, and other essential items such as toilet rolls and cleaning supplies will be provided except towels.
Volunteers will be entitled to hot and cold food from the Paradise Green kitchen, which includes coffee/tea/juices for the whole day. Breakfast such as cereals, bread and juices will be provided in the rented flats. As Paradise Green needs to base their needs on your stated interests before coming to Edinburgh, they might require you to attend a Food & Hygiene Certificate Course.
Free Ticket Shows
As a token of appreciation, Paradise Green will offer a “reciprocal ticket” scheme where anyone working or taking part in the Fringe as a performer can get a free standby ticket in one of their venues. These tickets will be released on a first come first serve basis, about five minutes before any of the performances would start. It would also depend on the availability of the seats at that time.
Paradise Green strongly encourages their volunteers to participate in this scheme, as volunteers would be able to become more involved with the shows while showing their support and appreciation for the artists. Arrangements can also be made for volunteers to get complimentary tickets to a show, via several partner venues.
Essential Tips To Enjoy Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- Ensure that you have a working passport and your visa is accepted, should you require one to go through immigration.
- Book your tickets earlier if there are any particular shows that you are interested in. As for shows that are free of charge, make sure to ask for offers from the person when they are handing out the leaflets!
- Find a decent place of accommodation, as the festival will be very crowded.
- Check out the festival food as you head out to the different venues!
- Try to wear colorful clothes that are best fitted with sandals or shoes.
- Remember to give out donations as and when you can.
- As it is still the Covid and Monkeypox season, do make sure that you are following safety measures and keeping yourself healthy!
- Hydrate! Do not over-exert yourself while having fun. Make sure to have bottled water on standby.
- Always be on guard! Do not stand in crowded & quiet spaces without someone that you know.
- Keep your valuables in a safe place, or have someone that you trust to look after them.
- If any suspicious activity is happening, don’t hesitate to call the local emergency number.
Other things to do in Edinburgh
- August will be a month of various festivals, so don’t just stick to one! Explore what the other festivals have to offer.
- Check out the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
- Head to the Circus Hub!
- Do check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, as well as the Edinburgh International Festival.
I hope that this article has been informative, and would be able to help you in your journey to Edinburgh! Remember, life is not always about staying in that safety net. Go out, have fun, and grab this one-time opportunity to explore the world!