The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with over 3,000 shows. This year, Playbill will be going to Edinburgh in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along with us this spring and summer as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!
So, you've decided to come to the Edinburgh Fringe. Whether it is your first time visiting Auld Reeky, or your 15th, Playbill is here to help you prepare for your adventure of a lifetime with the tips and tricks that will help you make the most of the biggest arts festival in the world.
READ: What is the Edinburgh Fringe and Why Is It So Big?
Playbill has teamed up with Shona McCarthy, the chief executive of the Fringe Society, to bring you the expert advice that can make your journey to the Edinburgh Fringe run smoothly. McCarthy, who is in her seventh year on the job leading the Fringe's support system, has held to guide the festival through some of its highest attended festivals, as well as the difficult COVID years.
Her key advice? "Don't be afraid to go off the beaten track! Edinburgh is one of those cities that's just got hidden secrets everywhere you go. Go on your own journey of discovery."
And this year, Playbill is co-sponsoring the official Fringe Festival app, making your own theatre-going experience even easier. But for those getting ready to go this year, in order to best prepare for your journey of discovery, McCarthy has five key packing recommendations.
"First of all, you're going to need a sturdy little rucksack of some kind because you're going to do a lot of walking, and that brings me to the second thing, you're going to need flat shoes," McCarthy explains. "Edinburgh is a city of cobbles. It is a city of ups and downs, and different levels and hard surfaces, so you're going to need comfy shoes."
And prepare for rain, says McCarthy. "We like to think of Edinburgh as a city that has beautiful weather year round. But that's a lie," she laughs. "You really need to bring a raincoat or a poncho. Bring a pair of spare socks, because when that rain does come down, and you're wearing your lovely trainers, you're gonna end up with wet feet. So I think a spare pair of socks is always really good idea."
McCarthy's next recommendation is less of something you could pack from home, and more a reminder. "You're going to need to have some water because you're gonna be moving around a lot. You're also going to need some snacks. Bananas, oatcakes, things that keep you going for quite a while, and let you get from one venue to the next."
In addition to McCarthy's five recommendations, Playbill recommends you remember to pack layers of clothing, and your sunscreen: While you're likely to experience a classic hazy Edinburgh day during your trip, August can also be warm and sunny, so make sure to bring clothes you can either layer or remove depending on the weather, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun should you decide to catch an outdoor performance on the fly!
Finally, don't forget to check out EdFringe.com, where the Fringe Society has listings of just about every show that will be on offer during the festival: while half of the fun is discovering shows once you have arrived, it is a good idea to browse the offerings to get a sense of the selection, as well as make sure you have tickets in hand for your personal must sees. And when you go to the Fringe this year, make sure to download the official Fringe app, co-sponsored by Playbill.
Make sure to check in with Playbill here on Playbill.com and on our socials at @PlaybillTravel as you're preparing for your trip to Edinburgh Fringe! We'll have you covered on which shows to go to, and what fun activities you can do in-between shows.