Edinburgh survival guide (don't leave home without it!)
Here it is - the ultimate guide to surviving, and maybe even thriving, at the world's largest arts festival
Give me a hoot and a howl, grab your wellies and sling me a pint of cider in a plastic cup- it's definitely time to get excited about Edfringe folks! Edfringe can seem overwhelming at times due to its sheer size. A chum of mine made her virgin fringe trip last Summer and within two minutes of her stepping out into the Royal Mile I received a panicky phonecall - "IT'S SO BIG WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HOW DOES IT WORK?!"
However, FEAR YE NOT, this Fringe veteran is here to reveal the best of the fest and how to work it to make sure you have the best week ever.
I laugh in the face of the Megabus by booking my first class seat on the East Coast service from King's Cross nice and early, which means it's actually very reasonable. Plus, it also gives you the added bonus of playing 'How many freebies can I glean from East Coast?' (NB playing this game means you'll end up with about 15 mini packs of shortbread. Some would say that's no bad thing.)
Where to Kip
Beds come at a bit of a premium during Edfringe so I would suggest going for a cheap and cheerful option- whether that's hostelling, palling up with a bunch of rowdy mates and renting a student flat or persuading performing pals to let you crash on their floors- you'll be out having too much fun to worry about having a dreamy four-poster. Plus just think, you're at a festival and getting to sleep under an actual ROOF rather than a sagging soggy nylon tent! RAPTURE!
"The year I only took flip-flops I nearly got trenchfoot"
Prepare for monsoons and drought both. It rains a lot, yet the venues tend to get very warm what with having stage lights on most of the day and night. Now would be your perfect time to perfect the art of layering. Oh and take sensible shoes. Edinburgh has a lot of cobbles so you'll look like a bit of a bell in heels and the year I only took flip-flops I nearly got trenchfoot.
How Do I Know What to See?!
Read reviews (but also take them all with a pinch of salt) and talk to people. Everyone at Edfringe wants to have a chat about what they're seeing, have seen and what hot ticket they're trying to get their mitts on. It's not like London honestly, people won't think you're trying to mug them if you strike up some chat. Get friendly!
Plan (But Also Don't Plan)
Have an idea of some things you'd like to see so your day has some structure, but leave some nice big gaps for spontaneous leaps into shows you never thought you'd see and tips you pick up along the way. Half the fun of Edfringe is to see things you would never usually take a chance on. Also plan time for supping a few beers obv. Speaking of which…
You will drink all day. GIRD YOUR LIVER. In fact, I'd start training now if I were you. I have *hic*.
The Ticket Prices
Edfringe ticket prices seem reasonable, but given that you could easily see five shows a day, it does add up. Take full advantage of the half price hut, 2-4-1 days and the free fringe (especially good for comedy).
Eating and Drinking
Some favourites of mine include: The Mosque Kitchen (teeming plates of cheap-as-chips curry), Piemaker (ruddy good pies), Mums (best bangers ‘n' mash for miles), Loopy Lorna's (knitted tea cosies and scones), the pubs along the Grassmarket to watch street performers and CC Blooms (late night gay fun. The best kind).
Pack a sense of adventure, a raincoat, don't walk down the Royal Mile if you're in a rush, say yes, dance, be merry, laugh and fall in love hard and fast with the best festival in the world. Oh, and take a random item of fancy dress. My tartan garter came in real handy last year. But that's another story.
Read more from Katie Brennan at bloodyhellbrennan.com
FOR MORE ON EDINBURGH 2014 VISIT WHATSONSTAGE.COM/EDINBURGH-FESTIVAL