TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE 68TH FRINGE, HERE ARE 10 TOP TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:
1 Get the Fringe programme. At a chunky 406 pages (plus the Fringe map), the programme has details of all the shows and venues. It’s widely available in Edinburgh and is free. Also check out edfringe.com, where you can download a daily guide at edfringe.com/ daily-guide
2 Go early. The Fringe officially opens on August 1, but many shows have previews, which start a couple of days earlier. The tickets are cheaper and there tends to be a more informal, edgy atmosphere.
3 Look out for the 2-for-1 ticket offer in the Fringe programme. This is available on August 4 and 5: for each full-price ticket bought, you will receive a free one.
4 Visit the Virgin Money half price hut at the Mound Precinct. The hut opens on August 6 and has thousands of half-price tickets available every day, for shows that day and the morning of the following day only. Information on what shows are on offer can be found at the hut, on edfringe.com and through the official Fringe app.
5 Keep a lid on it. With mid-range comedy (excluding free shows) costing about £8 to £10 an hour and premium comedy coming in at upwards of £12 an hour, you can quickly rack up £50 a day in pursuit of a good laugh. Which might not be so funny.
6 More generally, pace yourself. With so much on offer, it’s tempting to try to cram in all you can while you’re there. This may not be a bad thing, but if you find yourself starting to drift off in mid-performance, it probably is.
7 Free and easy. Thanks to the The Free Festival, PBH’s Free Fringe, La Favorita Freestival, BBC shows (to enter via a random draw, go to bbc.co.uk/tickets), free tours, free fairs, free exhibitions and more, there’s an awful lot that costs nothing — though invariably there will be a bucket at the free shows. You can also watch previews of Fringe shows and see street performances on The Royal Mile and on The Mound from 11am daily (and from 2pm on The Royal Mile on August 10).
8 Bike it. If you like cycling and haven’t yet booked a train ticket, you might want to consider booking a place for your bike in the guard’s van. It’s a great way to get from venue to venue, and a nice way to see the city. 9 Avoid the jam and take the tram. Edinburgh now has a tram system up and running — albeit several years late and massively over budget. You can take a tram from Edinburgh airport to Princes Street in the city centre, which sounds appealing if you’re flying. It’s hard to believe it’s for real, but it seems it is. For more info, go to edinburghtrams.com
10 The Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation normally has a festival open day, offering a taste of Jewish shows at the Fringe. It’s not holding one this year, but according to its website ( ehcong.com) it is generally possible to be hosted for meals on Shabbat — though, as they don’t have a lot of readily available sources of kosher food, you would need to let them know at least a week in advance. There is no charge, but a donation to EHC would be “very much appreciated”. Edinburgh also has a Liberal Jewish community, Sukkat Shalom ( eljc.org).
Musician and entertainer Daniel Cainer who will be at the festival