Sunday, 27 July 2014

How to: Edinburgh Fringe

With the Fringe coming up SO SOON, I feel like I need to share my knowledge a little bit. Last year, I was completely clueless about the whole thing. And not only was I sort of experiencing it as a visitor, I was also working in one of the venues as a box office assistant. I had a great time working there and it was also a great opportunity to take advantage of all these people who know so much about the Fringe or the theatre industry. While working there, I learned a lot about the Fringe, the tips and tricks when it comes to buying tickets and all that stuff.
So here is a little mini guide with those tips and tricks!

First off though- What's the deal with booking tickets?
The whole Fringe ticket thing is seriously confusing, but the simple overview is this: you can buy tickets online via the Fringe website or app, which charges you an extra fee. It is convenient though, because then you can pick up your tickets in the big four venues (Underbelly, Assembly, Pleasance and Gilded Balloon) or in the official box office. You can also buy tickets for pretty much all venues in the official Fringe box office on the Royal Mile, but that is obviously just crazy because everyone will do that. For the big four venues you can buy tickets at all of their box offices. So Pleasance will sell Underbelly tickets as well. My tip is to buy them online and pick them up at the venue or go to the venue and buy them there. And one last thing: Assembly is not Assembly Rooms.

Fringe on the Royal Mile 2011 173
photo credit: byronv2 via photopin cc

1. Get on Twitter.

I am not really a big Twitter person, but I do love it when it comes to real live events and that sort of thing. Follow Edinburgh newspapers, comedians you wanna see, certain venues or companies, look up the trending hashtags in your area, check the #edfringe hashtag. It will give you a feel for what is going on, maybe there is a famous person just hanging out around the corner from you, or someone is giving out free tickets somewhere on the Royal Mile or you can take part in a online sweepstake. It's all possible.

2. How to get cheap tickets.

It all depends when you will be at the festival. There are 2for1 deals for certain days at the beginning of the festival, which is obviously great to see a lot of shows for less. Then there are codes you have to mention at the box office (or online) to get a cheaper deal, and you can find these codes in certain newspapers, in sponsored or affiliated businesses, or online (see #1). 
Another point is the Virgin Half Price Hut. Those half price deals are on daily for certain shows that are on that day and it varies every day. You get them if you go to the Mound and stand in line. I have never done this before, but this is certainly an option if you want cheaper tickets. 
My personal tip is probably just making friends with box office people. If you are nice to them, they can really help you out a lot. Being angry and shouting at them does not help you at all.

3. Sold out does not always mean sold out.

Although tickets are actually non exchangeable and non refundable, there still might be a chance of you getting the very last ticket. The code word here is restricted view tickets or sometimes, there are just last minute tickets released that have been on hold for some reason. Check back with the box office of that venue (!) early on the day of the show and then they maybe again later and then before that show. You might just get lucky!

Loveboat - Sat 28 August 2010 -0744
photo credit: The Queen's Hall via photopin cc

Just in general- keep hydrated (yes mami), be friendly and make friends, keep exploring what Edinburgh has to offer beside the main craziness of the Fringe, be prepared for weather craziness, go a bit out of your comfort zone and see a show you normally wouldn't see and just enjoy the magic of these 25 days!

Just to finish off, here are links to some other helpful guides on how to "Fringe".

performers on the Mile 0113
photo credit: byronv2 via photopin cc

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