I was lucky enough to get a break from work over the last week, and I used it to go with my partner to visit a friend who lives an hour outside of Edinburgh. For the entire month of August, Edinburgh transforms from a quaint British city to a performing artists heaven, The Fringe Festival. Every day of the month, there are multitudes of various shows put on by musicians, poets, comedians, magicians, burlesque dancers, mime’s, and every other kind of performer you can imagine. The best part is that a large number of the shows are free (with a recommended donation) and nearly all of them take place in bars. Since all of the Fringe venues are in the city centre, visitors can walk to them all! Meaning you can drink to your hearts content, and laugh until your sides hurt.
|A gorgeous Scottish Castle|
I attended The Fringe for two days in 2015. The first show I saw happened to end in female nudity and involve an awkward American poet doing live ‘film noir’. It was jarring. I saw several good shows last year, but unfortunately my friends and I also saw some duds. I chalk it up to us being Fringe virgins.
This year was entirely different. I put in the time every morning to select the performances we went too. My group also branched out and saw a poet/rap battle called “The Harry and Chris Show” (check it out on Youtube, very impressive stuff, and it was free!!). I participated in a walking Harry Potter tour of Edinburgh. Did you know that it’s actually the basis for a lot of J.K Rowling’s scenery in the books? As well as home to several cafe’s where she wrote the first three books of the series! I had a good geek out. Overall, The Fringe is amazing, and if you can manage to make your way up to Scotland in August 2017, you should. It is a cheap way of seeing talents from around the world and have tons of laughs.
The Wandering Blonde’s Top Fringe Activities from 2016:
1. Operation Dead Drop: One of the escape rooms in Edinburgh designed a special city wide escape game exclusively for The Fringe Festival. In teams, you and your friends are given a map, log on to an app, and run around the city trying to answer questions about Edinburgh to earn points and solve the mystery. The team at the end that has the most points, wins! My group (Team NoChris) came 2nd on our night, and placed in the top ten teams of the entire Fringe Festival. In order to participate you need to be good with working out riddles, able and willing to run around and dodge “chasers” (people hired to steal points off of you and make you run around even more), and up for lots of fun. Note to the wise, you cannot google the answer’s to all the riddles. The makers designed the game to work around that. (Not that I didn’t try)
2. Andrew Roper-Superhero Secret Origins and Battle of the Superhero’s: If you are a nerd like me, any show that have the word superhero in the title is a winner. Andrew Roper’s show was an informative comedy about Wonder Woman and women in comics. He highlights the issues with costuming, posing, constant rescuing, all while making me laugh until I couldn’t breathe. Battle of the Superhero’s was a combination of comedians from shows around The Fringe taking on hero (or villain) persona’s and trying to persuade audience members to vote on them as “The Best Superhero”. I was lucky enough to see the finale, and I can tell you that Jericho won (google him, he is an interesting, if odd, hero).
|The inspiration for Diagon Alley|
3. Any of The Fringe Walking Tours: I mentioned that I partook in the Potter tour of the city. It only took an hour, walked at a reasonable pace, was super informative, and it cost my group of three a tenner (roughly $12-$14). You get to see so much of Edinburgh, and it is cheaper than if you signed up for a tour through a tourist agency or by other means. I know that they offer free underground tours, haunted tours, and various architecture tours.
Finally, while in the city, whether you are there for The Fringe or not, visit Scoopz Ice Cream Shop. It is so cheap, has HUMONGOUS milkshakes, and unusual flavors such as; Iron Bru.