The Greatest Show on Earth: Experiencing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Taking place from August 7th-31st, the Edinburgh Fringe holds the title as the largest arts festival in the world. A kaleidoscope of performance-based acts are spread across hundreds of stages, totalling over 3,000 shows. Thought of as a rite of passage for performers, the festival frequently draws the biggest names in the business, who perform alongside budding stars and fresh new talent.

© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Located in Scotland’s capital along the gorgeous Royal Mile, there are few places that could rival the atmosphere and character of the Edinburgh Fringe. The festival has been used as a platform to showcase top entertainers across every genre of the performing arts since 1947, and in 2014 the total number of acts totalled almost 50,000.

Comedy is a huge part of the Edinburgh Fringe, with many huge international names regularly appearing at the festival. Past stars to have won the coveted Edinburgh Comedy Award for their performance at the Fringe include Lee Evans, Dylan Moran and Russell Cane. Of course, the fun of the festival is the celebration of unusual acts, and everything from sketch shows to character comics and musical jesters are to be found here.

© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Theatre shows during the festival are performed around the clock in various well-established venues from the Traverse Theatre to the Cabaret Voltaire, as well as in ad hoc places like public parks and pubs. Much of the life and soul of the event can simply be witnessed by walking down the Royal Mile, which is buzzing with street performers day and night.

When planning your Fringe trip, you can purchase show tickets in advance or try out one of the many free shows available. At these events, can pay what you want or reserve a seat in advance for a small cost. Much of the enjoyment of the festival is about stumbling in on a show last minute and discovering something amazing, so keep an open mind and leave room to explore.

© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Whether you end up watching comedians fight pro wrestlers, a stand-up comic in a toilet or a drunken Shakespeare performance, you can be sure that the Edinburgh Fringe will be something you will never forget.