The Edinburgh Festival Fringe officially got underway today, Friday 02 August, with the unveiling of a brand new ‘Inspiration Machine’ on the Mound.

As the largest celebration of arts and culture on the planet, this year’s Fringe features over 3,800 pieces of work from a record 63 countries. The Inspiration Machine is designed to help out audiences who might be having trouble deciding which shows to see from the diverse programme, by delivering three randomised suggestions of Fringe shows at the push of a button. Many suggestions are accompanied by videos made by performers giving a taste of what their shows are like. The Inspiration Machine, which is also available as an online version, is free to use and there’s no obligation to buy tickets to the shows it suggests. 

Another new addition to this year’s Fringe is the ‘FringeMaker’, a web-based game that encourages players to explore more of the Fringe. Using their smartphone, players check gain points by checking in at venues using special codes and completing fun challenges. These points can be exchanged for real-life prizes at the Fringe Shop and there will be a grand prize at the end of the Fringe for the player who manages to check into the most venues.

Johnnie Walker, the official whisky of the Fringe, is also offering a chance to win something special with their ‘Johnnie Walker Tickets’. Anyone who purchases Fringe tickets online, the official Fringe App or over the phone from the Fringe Box Office will receive a booking confirmation email containing a Johnnie Walker banner. By clicking on this and following the onscreen prompts, they can instantly win a host of amazing Johnnie Walker and Fringe themed prizes.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:

With over 3,800 shows and over 320 venues at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we know that audiences can find it tricky deciding what to see and where to go. We created our Inspiration Machine and our FringeMaker game specially to help Fringe-goers out, encouraging them to venture beyond their comfort zone and experience something new and exciting that they might not have considered before. We are encouraging everyone to try to see at least one show that isn’t on their must-see list – something completely random they know nothing about. Who knows – it could Make Your Fringe!

Explore what's on and Make your Fringe

The stage is set. Take a sneak peek at how it was made.