An epic celebration of arts and culture, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe turns 75 this August. Spilling into every nook and cranny of historic Edinburgh, this carnival of energy, dance, comedy, music and more runs riot over three packed weeks from 5 August 2022. And if that’s not enough, it runs alongside its sister festival, The Edinburgh International Festival, which is also celebrating the landmark anniversary this year.
Set in the beauty of UNESCO world heritage site Edinburgh, you can expect to see anything from the sublime to the bizarre play out under the shadows of the city’s dormant volcano. Discover everything from cabaret to circus, magic and opera in Edinburgh’s plethora of performance spaces. Or catch buskers, face painters, hair braiders, palm readers and living statues who cram into the city’s Georgian streets. Don’t be surprised if you become part of the act itself!
This year, expect to see a broad and brave line-up, designed to test the limits of entertainment, including anything from The Best of Burlesque to artist David Hoare attempting to perform 100 songs in just one hour. For lovers of all things audacious, there’s 70-year-old brazen comedian Doris Does, whose show The Edinboiger Fringe talks about things most older people tend to avoid.
Enjoy a belly laugh at Underbelly, which includes a nightly line-up of rib-tickling big-names in comedy, often trying their gags out here first. There’s a chance to see Elliott Smith’s show about ‘gender, stakes, queerness and cakes’ or Fern Brady, who’s recent stratospheric rise in comedy is revealed in her show: Autistic Bikini Queen. Or hear about the joys of having a blue badge with Aaron Simmonds, as the wheelchair-bound comedian’s show Hot Wheels shines a light on the positive side of being disabled. There’s also puppet shows, circus, dance and opera to enjoy, including Gilbert and Sullivan’s Nightmare and queer opera Fabulett 1933.
To experience a different side of the city, join a unique walking tour through A Tale of Two Towns. Hear about everything from the secrets found in the narrow streets and dark corners of Edinburgh Old Town through to the modern living of Georgian New Town. Theatre lovers should check out Abigail’s Party – based on Mike Leigh's classic, it’s still going strong 45 years after its first performance and tells of two marriages unravelling at an awkward neighbourhood drinks party.
Although the Edinburgh festival gets busy, it aims to be as inclusive as it is diverse, with plenty of shows and events encouraging full accessibility. Sensory backpacks can be provided, and trained staff can provide extra assistance in busy areas and queues. Many events are also available online if you’re unable to attend in person.
Edinburgh is firmly on the map as a festival city, hosting no fewer than 11 festivals each year. August comes alive with lots of them running concurrently with Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This includes Edinburgh Art Festival, running from 28 July 2022 to 28 August 2022 with more than 40 events and exhibitions, which you can enjoy entirely free.
The Edinburgh International Festival, also runs alongside the Fringe, and brings theatre, opera and dance from around the world to six major theatres and concert halls in the city, as well as to some unconventional spots too. Or you can read up at The Edinburgh International Book Festival, a distinctive international showcase celebrating the written word.