Edinburgh Fringe Myths Debunked

The legendary Edinburgh Fringe can seem noisy, hectic, and frankly a little mad, in all the best ways. However, with all the traffic and buzz surrounding the festival, it’s easy to get caught up in all the chatter! Luckily for all you Fringe first-timers, we’re here to break down the rumours and clarify the most common misconceptions when it comes to the largest arts festival on the planet.

MYTH: The Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are the same thing

FACT: Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe are NOT the same thing. The Fringe is its own unique entity with its own events and attractions. In fact, the Fringe was born after 8 theatre companies gate crashed the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 by performing their own shows on the outskirts of the city. What’s another word for outskirts? Fringe.

MYTH: Shows at the Fringe cost a lot of money

FACT: In 2018, there were a whopping 697 free shows and 260 pay-what-you-think shows at the Fringe. Each year there are also an entire cohort of street performers and buskers who perform on the Royal Mile every day throughout the festival. Visiting the Fringe on a budget is absolutely possible.

MYTH: Free shows are the worst shows

FACT: Just because a show is free does not mean they are bad quality. Simple as that! 

MYTH: Anyone can perform, does that mean there are no good quality shows?

FACT: Again, this could not be further from the truth. Most Fringe shows are publicly reviewed. Awards are also given out, such as Theatre Weekly’s ‘The Best of the Fest’. Moreover, I generally find that Fringe performers are the those who are most passionate about their craft, who simply love performing. These kinds of actors undoubtedly put on the best shows.

MYTH: Fringe venues are only in the city centre

FACT: Most Fringe first-timers seems to think that Fringe is a singular cobbled street in Scotland. In fact, the Fringe boats over 300 venues spread throughout the city. Go exploring!

MYTH: The best shows are the in the best venues

FACT: Many of the best shows are hidden away in weird and wonderful venues. Previous venues have included swimming pools, beaches, public toilets, taxi (yes we’re confused by that one too) Don’t be afraid to go off piste – you will definitely find some hidden gems.  

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