The Edinburgh Fringe festival gets underway today and will continue for the next 3 weeks of August. It is in its 64th year and is still the largest arts festival in the world with a total of at least 21,000 performers taking part in 2,453 shows – 300 more than last year - in 250 venues. Some serious figures.
Last year saw record ticket sales of around 1.8 million – a 21% increase on the previous year – despite swine flu, a weak pound, bad weather, and recession concerns. The economy may have a part to play this year but so far it looks like ticket sales will once again increase – the official figures will be released at the end of the festival.
The festival itself is an incredible experience. You can wander around the beautiful streets of the old town with the castle up above and literally drop into event after event. There are endless acts on the streets themselves and the bars, restaurants, and cafes come alive. It is necessary to book for the most well-known acts but for many of the other performances you can usually turn up on the door and simply pop in for a magic box of surprises - which is always a risk but a fun experience nevertheless. Some you wish you hadn’t bothered with and others can be quite brilliant! Even if the performances don’t float your boat, it’s probably the best time to see this beautiful city for the atmosphere alone.
This year will see big-hitters such as John Bishop perform who has risen to stellar success with his performances on the BBC’s 'Live at the Apollo' and now his own show, ‘John Bishop’s Britain’ on Saturday nights. The talent that is Kevin Eldon – hailed by the likes of Armando Iannucci and Stewart Lee – will be performing his first solo show having already appeared on ‘Brass Eye’, ‘I’m Alan Partridge’, and ‘Nighty Night’. Jason Byrne will also be there this year, alongside Stephen K. Amos, Tim Vine, Mark Watson and Russell Kane, and possible rising stars of the future include Sara Pascoe, Sarah Millican, and Ava Vidal.
So if you’re heading to Edinburgh over the next few weeks have a fantastic journey into the weird and wonderful and if you have some spare time pop down to the Pleasance courtyard for a drink. Or if afternoon tea is more your thing then The Balmoral on Princes Street is hard to beat. We will be back in a few weeks to bring you all the brightest and best from the fabulous Fringe.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016