With just a few weeks until the start of the Fringe, there’s no excuse for not taking in what is arguably the best arts festival anywhere in the world. If you’re canny, experiencing the Fringe doesn’t need to cost the earth.
- 1. Join the Friends of the Fringe – If you are a culture vulture and intend seeing lots of shows, become a ‘Friend of the Fringe’. For £30, it’ll entitle you to a load of benefits, including 2 for 1 tickets, priority telephone booking line, exclusive Friends box office and lots more.
2. Take advantage of the previews – The Fringe doesn’t officially start until Fri 7 Aug but many of the shows offer discounted previews from as early as Wed 5 Aug. Check out the Fringe programme for more details. And on Mon 10 and Tues 11, many of the shows are 2 for 1.
3. Year of Food and Drink – And even earlier in the month, Assembly’s George Square Gardens plays host to the inaugural Edinburgh Food Festival, as part of The Year of Food and Drink, Scotland 2015 (not to be confused with Foodies Festival happening at Inverleith Park from 7 – 9 Aug). From 29 Jul – 2 Aug, you can join Assembly for a series of free debates, the very best in local street food and a line up of superb entertainment.
4. More free shows – Various promoters run free events, including the original PBH’s Free Fringe, Freestival and Bob Slayer. Laughing Horse’s Free Festival, back for their 12th year, runs from 1 – 30 August, with the first five days dedicated to a brand new free Children’s festival at the Free (Three) Sisters in the Cowgate; perfect for entertaining the kids during the school holidays.
6. Get value from your licence fee – The @BBCEdFest brings the best of the Festival to people in Edinburgh and elsewhere in the Big Tent at Potterrow and at the EICC. You can apply for free tickets.
7. It’s not all about comedy – There’s so much else to do, from walking tours to exhibitions. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, try the Potter Trail, a walking tour of Edinburgh. Saturday and Sunday midday tours have live magic from Magus Negus. Or the Royal Mile Tours offer a historical walking tour around Edinburgh’s world-famous Old Town.
8. Picture this – And if art and photography is your thing, take in one of the many free exhibitions. Top favourites include: Steve Ullathorne’s Annual Photo Fest at the Gilded Balloon; The World Press Photos at the Scottish Parliament, 22 Jul – 22 Aug. And don’t forget the Edinburgh Art Festival, which takes place from 30 Jul – 30 Aug.
9. Walk the walk – Whilst a daily or weekly Ridacard bus pass is a good option during the Fringe, an even cheaper and often quicker solution is to walk. It’ll keep you fit too.
10. Go wild with your Festival eats – Eating and drinking during the Fringe can cost you a fortune but play your cards right and there’s still good value to be had around the venues. Check out the List for where to eat and drink. Edinburgh has lots of BYOB restaurants too. Or check out some of the food stalls around George Square Gardens (Wild Dining is a new kid on the block for this Festival, offering freshly made Smørrebrød); The Pleasance Courtyard; Summerhall Courtyard; or the Underbelly’s Pasture. And if it’s raining, seek refuge in one of the many inside bars and cafes at the Gilded Balloon.They do great nachos!
So the Fringe doesn’t have to cost the earth. Set yourself a challenge and experience a frugal fringe this August.