The Edinburgh Festival Fringe: A survival guide

As the festival season starts to emerge, we start to check our bank balances and diaries and start to select which festivals we will be attending. For us arty farty theatre-loving people, one of the main festivals in our calendars is The Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Brace yourself 

Now, if you have never been before and this is your first time attending the festival then this, my dear Kettle readers, is the article to read. I have been to the festival twice, once as a performer and then as a worker at a venue which you can read about here.

But this time around, I will be attending as a theatre lover. I will have a week of the fringe and attempting to see anything and everything in the seven days that I will be there. No matter how long you are going for, be that a couple of days or a few weeks, you need to be prepared for the craziness that happens in Edinburgh in the month of August.

Be prepared and plan ahead

Okay, so unless you are a little crazy yourself and just like to live life in the moment, then I would seriously advise looking through your programme or the website and start looking into shows that you would like to see, which you can do here. Especially if you think they will be popular, it is best to book in advance so you won’t be disappointed if you don’t get to see a particular show. So maybe create yourself a timetable to organise what you can see and when. Also, be wary of the location of venues – don’t find yourself running around the city like a loonie trying to get to another show that is on in 5 minutes and is miles away from your last show.


Just take some time to breathe and chill out. If this is your first time then it will seem really overwhelming and slightly scary, but fear not. Even if you just walk along the Royal Mile and take stock of the live street performances and even the free fringe shows, you can still have fun without having to deal with the experience of going to a box office and panicking about tickets and shows etc – it can be a little too much.


Speaking of too much, as you approach the festival there will be people competing against each other with flyers to persuade you to see their own show. Literally everyone will be trying to hand you a flyer. Now, coming from someone who has to flyer for shows, if you receive one – just accept it, don’t rip it up in front of their faces or put it in the bin. You don’t even have to see that show, just accept it, smile and walk away. Trust me, by the time you get home, you will still be finding flyers coming from your bag – it just becomes a part of the experience. I remember on my first trip there, my friend and I had a competition to see how many different flyers we could collect. We had hours of fun.

Fringe Flu 

Just like man flu, this is a thing – trust me, being at the fringe for a long time can tire you out. My advice is to eat plenty of fruit, drink plenty of water and have lots of rest. Don’t think that you have to see a boat load of shows all in one day; just pace yourself and enjoy the experience. Even if you just see one or two shows a day, for the rest of the day just relax, have some food, and take in the experience.


Maybe you’ve had your fill of shows? Then why not get your camera out and get your tourist on – Edinburgh is a beautiful city. You can just get lost in it, so why not have a look around and explore some of the sites that Edz has to offer. I remember finding a funky little ice cream/frozen yoghurt cafe called Frisky Froyo.

It doesn’t sound too complicated, right? The main aim is just to have fun no matter what you are doing – whether you are simply taking in the buzz of the Royal Mile or going to see a show – just enjoy the experience. 

Have you been to the fringe? Let us know in the comments below!