Five tips for Fringe first-timers
25 July 2023
If this is your first time visiting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – welcome! It’s so great to have you with us at one of the world’s greatest celebrations of arts and culture, alongside thousands of amazing artists from around the globe.
The scale of the Fringe can seem a little daunting to first-time visitors, so here are five tips to help you find your feet and #FillYerBoots!
1. Download the app
The official EdFringe app is free to download and contains listings for every show at the Fringe. It also has several handy features including Nearby Now, which helps you find shows near your location that are starting soon, and Shake to Search, which presents you with a random show if you fancy taking a gamble on something. All you have to do is give your phone a shake while the app’s open and see what pops up!
2. Create a favourites list
There are more than 3,000 shows at Fringe 2023, which is way more than anyone can fit into a single festival. The search filters on the app and on edfringe.com are a good way of creating a more manageable selection based on your preferences – you can filter by date range, time of day, genre, special pricing and much more. Once you’ve crafted a list of shows that are relevant to you, browse through and tap ‘Add to favourites’ on any show that catches your eye. (Whether you use the heart icon in the app or the star icon on edfringe.com, don’t worry – they all end up in the same list). Bingo – from 3,000+ shows, you now have your own bespoke shortlist to work from.
3. Visit the street events
The world-famous Fringe street events are an astounding spectacle to behold, with daredevil stunts, live music, juggling, acrobatics and much more. Wander up the High Street or down to the Mound precinct (where you can also swing by the Belhaven Bar) and take in the incredible array of talent – and please remember to tip the performers if you’re able (many of them even take contactless payments!).
4. Leave space for surprises
It can be easy to plan out a full itinerary before setting foot in Edinburgh, but part of the magic of the Fringe is stumbling upon that surprise discovery you never expected. Talk to artists handing out flyers for their shows, chat to your fellow Fringe-goers as you queue at a venue, eavesdrop in the café as you sip your cappuccino – everyone (including your barista) has a recommendation to share. Who knows, you might accidentally find your new favourite show.
5. Pace yourself
We’ve heard some extreme stories of people who can cram in 11 or 12 Fringe shows a day, but if this is your first time at the Fringe, you might want to take it a bit easier than that! Remember to leave gaps in your schedule for food and drink, and to digest the shows you’ve seen – the full impact might not hit you until a few hours later. It’s also important to leave plenty of time to get from one show to another – the Edinburgh streets can get pretty busy during August, and many venues have a strict no-latecomers policy, so try to avoid any last-minute dashes.
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