The Fringe Part 6 (Planning)

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival can be overwhelming, with 2,871 shows performed by 24,107 artists in 273 venues it can be difficult to know where to start. Part of the fun can be just jumping in and seeing some random shows, but for those with limited time or a desperation to plan there are plenty of resources available to help.

Our Edinburgh Fringe journey starts with the physical Fringe programme, we find it far easier to flick through and look at all the shows one by one, also you’ll be more likely to discover some new shows which is much more interesting than just ‘sticking to what you know’. Once the programme has been reviewed we move on to the EdFringe website. Prior to unleashing your credit card you can bookmark shows that take your fancy and start whittling them down (if you can). After you have bought some tickets you can download your calendar of events to keep track of your upcoming shows and avoid double booking.

The EdFringe website is also a useful resource for reviews of shows, you can only read the views of people who actually bought tickets which gives them a bit more credibility. I’m not suggesting that some reviews lurking on the internet are written by people who didn’t attend the shows, but it is possible.

For those on the go there is also the EdFringe app, this can be incredibly useful when out and about enjoying the Festival. There have been a number of shows we discovered through word of mouth when chatting with other Fringe-goers, we would either buy tickets through the app there and then or mark them as a favourite to review later. The app also keeps track of all ticket purchases made electronically, these are laid out in planner so you can review your agenda.

The Free Fringe
The Fringe Festival doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, a handy guide to all the free shows is available from The Reviewist. Two other useful websites which provide details on the Free shows are The Free Fringe and Laughing Horse.

Free shows are essentially buskers on stage, you pay nothing to see them but on the way out you will have the opportunity to throw some money into a bucket if you enjoyed the show. Usually it will be the performer holding the bucket so even if you didn’t enjoy the show feelings of guilt may set in and you’ll still toss a few quid their way.

You never really know what you’re going to get with the free shows, you might be witnessing the next big thing or one of the most painful shows of your life. It’s a gamble, but that’s what makes the Fringe so much fun!

Comedy is very subjective, I for example don’t like Mrs Brown’s Boys but for some reason it is incredibly popular. I do read reviews though, it’s a great way to get a feel for what is going down well with critics and the public. There are lots of great websites out there provide reviews worth reading, I tend to take a look over these:

Just remember, one person may award five stars to a show which gets one star somewhere else. We tend to rely on word of mouth more than reviews, but if you see something getting five stars everywhere you may as well check them out.


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