Saturday, August 10, 2019

Edinburgh Scotland and the Fringe Festival

Three days exploring the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, before the reason for my Scottish trip began – a writer’s conference – and 1½ days after the conference, barely enough time to see the sites of the city and experience the Fringe Festival.
Ad for the Fringe Festival (paid for by Virgin Air!) on
the Royal Mile, a cobblestone pedestrian-only street
connecting the medieval Edinburgh Castle
to Holyrood Palace, the royal family's residence when in Scotland.
 I admit I had never heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before this trip. The Fringe? The Festival advertises itself as “the world’s greatest platform for creative freedom,” offering thousands of live performances - comedy and drama theater, variety shows, one person shows and full productions, music, dance, children's shows, circus -  over a three-week period every August. 

To get an idea of the extent of the festival here are some 2018 festival statistics:

* Over 400,000 visitors.
* 3,548 unique shows in venues throughout the city, including large theaters, pub, hotel and outdoor locations. Small hole-in-the-wall sites seat less than 100. 
* Over 56,000 performances: 697 free shows, 260 pay as you want shows, 1,937 premiers.

Hub and I saw four shows: one great (Showstoppers– improv musical), one very good (Fishbowl – no dialogue, three actors), one interesting (Trump Lear – a one man play), one blah. Most of the shows are one hour, so the blah one was bearable. The play’s premise (and title) seemed interesting – Too young to stay in, too old to go out, but the man who performed the one-man show did not do a spectacular job. 

We walked...and walked...our steps interspersed with the shows, stops at pubs and restaurants for a taste of local fare, cafes for coffee – the brew wonderful throughout the trip, visits to museums and historic sites. Edinburgh is a city of steps, steep hills, too many cobblestone streets, and during the Fringe Festival too many people. By the end of each day our swollen feet demanded downtime.

One of the restaurants I DID NOT patronize.
We did have lunch one day at the
Lucky Pig, a vegetarian bistro.
This restaurant served great food at a reasonable price.
Following the first three days in Scotland we boarded a bus for Dundee. Dundee? Why are you going to Dundee? Locals inquired. Why would anyone spend time in Dundee? the overwhelming response from our new Scottish acquaintances.

The answer in my next blog post...
Love this sign found displayed above a pub door.


  1. I've never heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival either. But we did stay in Edinburgh for a few days during our visit to Scotland. Did the Royal Mile and the Castle. We loved Scotland... and not necessarily any special part of it... except the people. They were wonderfully friendly and kind.

  2. My daughter was there last week. She did not attend a festival but posted lovey photos. Maybe some day....

  3. I never heard of the Fringe Festival either. You have made me wish I had traveled there for it, though. What fun! :-)

  4. I do admit, I've heard of the Fringe Festival, but I didn't realize it was as big as it is. Apparently Orlando runs it's own Fringe Festival. I missed this years, but there is a mini winter one in January and then the bigger even in May of next year. I'll have to put it on my calendar.

  5. Being an actor I've known about the Fringe Festival for a long time. How exciting that you got to go for a writer's conference. It sounds like so much fun. Los Angeles has a Fringe Festival too but not nearly as big.