The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, or as it’s more commonly known, ‘The Fringe’ is the world’s largest arts festival. It was founded in 1946 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival. This year, it takes place from 5th August to 29th August.
In 1947, eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform at the newly-formed Edinburgh International Festival, which was created to celebrate and enrich European culture in the years following World War II. The organisers went ahead and let them perform anyway, and as the years went by, more performers followed their lead. In 1959, the Festival Fringe Society was created to provide support to The Fringe’s participating artists.
To this day, openness is an important value of The Fringe. If artists are willing to perform, and if a venue can be found for them, they perform. The result is that in 2009, The Fringe sold almost 2 million tickets for over 34,000 performances of almost 2,100 shows in 265 venues. It averaged over 74,000 attendees and 1,300 performances per day.
The Fringe is an unjuried festival, so all types of events are included. They can range from performances of ancient Greek classics, to Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett, to modern works. The Fringe often showcases experimental artists that may not necessarily be admitted to a more formal festival. In addition to ticketed events included in The Fringe’s programme, street performers are featured in its ongoing street fair, especially on the Royal Mile.
The three weeks The Fringe takes place is an ideal time to visit Edinburgh. No matter what your taste in music and art, you’ll find it. From big names to unknown artists looking for their first big break, and art forms as varied as theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, musicals, and operas, there’s something for everyone, check out the Jurys Inn range of hotels in Edinburgh if you would like to visit this festival.