Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Or The Fringe, as it is familiarly known, is officially the largest arts festival on the planet, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and it breaks its own record every year with increasing participants and attendances. The Fringe has many aspects, but mostly it is about all levels of performers, from the absolute amateurs of community drama groups, to semi-professional and even some professional performers appearing in all aspects of the performing arts: theatre, musical, dance, opera, comedy, children’s entertainment and anything else that you can imagine. 2005 presents 26,995 performances of 1799 shows in almost 300 converted halls, churches, schools, bars and small theatres, which act as the Fringe’s venues. During this time, you will find the High Street closed to traffic and absolutely teeming with performers putting on impromptu performances and handing out leaflets to encourage you to visit their shows. There is also usually a long line of craft sellers, both on the High Street and down at The Mound, selling anything from watercolours of Edinburgh to hair beading!
You can catch some of the best comedians in the world here!
The Perrier Comedy Awards have also become a major feature of the Festival, and the Perrier Award winner is usually guaranteed a fast track to success thereafter. The “big three” venues for stand up have always been The Gilded Balloon, The Assembly Rooms and The Pleasance. You can catch some of the best comedians in the UK here – I have personally seen the likes of Ed Byrne and Lee Evans, both now well known TV comedians. May I recommend that you try to catch Canadian, Jason John Whitehead at the Tron, not only because he’s very amusing, but also because he happens to be a friend of mine… (Well, if you can’t use your own book to plug your mates’ shows, then what’s the point of being the editor?)
It all kicks off with the Cavalcade, a parade of performers along Princes Street and a big day out in the Meadows, on the south side of town. Many of the companies and acts performing will be out in force and there are several stages on which to see some of the more organised acts. There’s also face painting, balloons and the like to entertain the kids.