For those of you not familiar with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, I thought I'd post a bit of an introduction to how it works.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest Fringe Festival and the largest Arts Festival in the entire world. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was the first Fringe Festival and many around the world have been founded based on its model. It was founded in 1947 the same year as the Edinburgh International Festival. Many artists were not able to participate in this festival, so they decided to do their own festival on the 'Fringe' of the International Festival. Hence the term 'Fringe' if you weren't sure where that came from. The Fringe in Edinburgh didn't take long to grow much larger than the Edinburgh International Festival.
The festival is open access (Cincinnati is a juried or curated festival), meaning that anyone with a show that can find a venue willing to host them can take part. Note the venue part, more on that later.
In 2012, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest ever with 42,096 performances of 2,695 shows in 279 venues. Wowsers!
The Fringe isn't the only festival happening in August in Edinburgh. There are 12 major festivals. All in all, these festivals attract over 4 million attendees, 25,000 artists, and generate 261 million pounds for the Scottish economy. How's that for an impact?
A few of these festivals don't take place in August, but most of them do from what I've heard. Now that that number, subtract a few festivals, and add all of those people to the streets, pubs, and venues in Edinburgh, and you may feel a little claustrophobic, I sure do! It is difficult to walk down the streets, especially with an umbrella!
The Royal Mile or Canongate/High Street is the center of Fringe artists, patrons, buskers, and street performances. The Festival Society provides a bunch of small stages that artists can book to perform. Others just set-up on the street and do their thing. They also hand you postcards for their shows. In order to keep myself awake yesterday, I did some strolling, some shopping, and watched a few performers.
I met a lovely lady too:
This one street performer had quite a crowd! By my estimation, probably 200 people had gathered to watch him. He was literally doing nothing, or basically randomly whacking items, playing with music, heckling passersby, and taking his clothes off. Nothing meant anything or was at all impressive, but yet myself and the other couple hundred people were quite entertained.
Strolling along the Royal Mile, a woman handed me a postcard and asked me to come see her show. My ears perked up – an American accent! I stopped and asked her where she was from. She is currently living in London but is from Florida. We spoke for a bit about Cincinnati and our Festival etc. and then she asked me if I knew about Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. I replied, "Of course, they're all great friends of ours." An actor who often performs with them named Giles was staying with her in Florida.
It's a small world after all.