… by Enrique / from Madrid, Spain / BSc Mathematics and Physics / 3rd Year (UG)
Whether you are a first or second year trying to find a casual summer job or a third or fourth year looking for an internship, the largest culture and arts festival in the world is definitely worth your time.
At first, the Fringe might seem a bit daunting. There are so many different events that even if you tried your hardest to go to every event you physically could, you would not even get close to seeing a significant portion of all it has to offer.
The city and university themselves become unrecognisable: Teviot becomes The Gilded Balloon, a place for music and upcoming performers and The Three Sisters turns into The Free Sisters, an extremely vibe-y venue with around the clock comedy stand-ups. 56 North spawns its own “Secret Gin Garden” and what normally is the terrace above the mall in Princes Street becomes the popular “Malones on the Mall”, an outdoor Irish pub.
The population of the city itself grows by about 400% during the month of the Fringe, so it is a prime time to meet new people and wander around an even more vibrant Grassmarket, Cowgate, or Royal Mile. You can also take a ball or a book and a picnic to the Meadows, Portobello Beach or Princes Street Gardens – should the weather allow of course.
You will hear many different opinions on how to best enjoy the Fringe, ranging from getting a job in a bar or cafe and enjoying the influx of newcomers and cultures in the city first-hand from a counter, or making sure you are free to just wander around the city, going to different shows and enjoying how Edinburgh changes during the festival.
During my first Fringe I worked at Revolution Cocktail Bar, which was a phenomenal experience to improve my interpersonal skills, while also learning how to make delicious cocktails – a skill that never goes amiss during your time at university. All my co-workers were very outgoing and were always keen to make the most out of the festival by organizing staff night outs or trying new and exciting shows. The most memorable of the shows we attended was easily “Lady Boys of Bangkok”, an extremely popular, exciting and well performed cabaret where the dancers even involve the members of the audience on the stage and have them follow their crazy dances!
Through my shifts, I also had the chance to meet several groups of artists, comedians and other performers that had come from the rest of the UK and Europe, and hear sneak peeks of their own shows, wild stories in Edinburgh and even in one special case, get a free ticket to an acrobatics show.
Last summer I did not have a job through the festival so I had the chance to go to more events. The Free Sisters has many free stand-up comedies, making it an excellent cheap night with friends and providing a true Fringe student experience. One of my favourite comedies at the Free Sisters was “101 Jokes”, where a collation of comedians performed different skits with all sorts of humour.
Another personal favourite is the critically acclaimed “S**tfaced Shakespeare” where a group of actors perform all the classical Shakespeare plays but with the twist that one of the actors is somewhat inebriated. The chosen actor changes every night to keep the audience on their toes, which makes this an extremely hilarious act with tons of repeat value while also remaining surprisingly family friendly.
In truth the Fringe is best enjoyed like everything else: by going with the flow and just doing whatever you would normally enjoy most, be it comedy, acrobatics, plays, music or just sitting in a café watching people hurry to different shows. Don’t waste the opportunity to try and see all you can, because you will not regret participating in one of the best events Edinburgh has to offer!