As mentioned in my previous blog, now that I have moved back to Scotland I am trying to make an effort to go to new places and see all the exciting things that my country has to offer. With this in mind I took a trip to the Edinburgh festival this weekend to experience some culture, support the arts and appreciate the work of poor performers etc etc..
If you don’t know, the Edinburgh Festival is an annual celebration of arts and entertainment taking place during the entire month of August. Artists, comedians, dancers, singers, and general creative types (hipsters) from all over the World descend on Scotland’s capital to showcase their work. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh turns into a chaotic runway of bizarre and wonderful street art and the whole city is buzzing. I’m pretty sure the Edinburgh Fringe is directly responsible for the deforestation of the rainforest with all the leaflets that are handed out, but we will overlook that because why support the trees and ecosystem when you can support struggling performers who have dedicated their life to ‘art’.
There is something for everyone at the Fringe. From well known celebrities to up and coming performers plus every single drama student in the UK you wont be short of things to do or see. Generally tickets for big well known names sell out pretty quickly but if, like me, you are just there for a day out there are plenty of free shows to choose from. In fact there are so many shows that it’s literally impossible to see everything. There’s also a lot of ‘contemporary’ street art which you won’t understand and various promoters trying to get you to come to their show, just keep your head down, avoid eye contact and you’ll be fine. You don’t want to be that guy who gets peer pressured into the 1 hour poetry reading about the life cycle of an orange, trust me, it’s not pretty.
We spent the majority of the afternoon in Cabaret Voltaire, where there are several rooms all showcasing up and coming talent, usually of the stand up comedy variety. Everything is free and I can honestly say I enjoyed every performance that I saw. Like I said, this was only one venue of the hundreds to choose from, you really need a good few days if you want to experience the festival properly. If you are strapped for cash take a look at http://www.freefestival.co.uk which lists all the shows that are completely free. I would recommend buying tickets in advance if there is anything you really want to see, then spend the rest of the day visiting some of the free/cheaper shows which are still of a very high standard. (mostly..)
I might return to the Fringe this week so please let me know if you have any suggestions of things to go and see. If you are thinking of going but haven’t quite got round to it yet – do it!! You will love it and there isn’t long left!