Booking for Edinburgh Festival?
Forget Christmas, Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August is the annual highlight on my calendar. If you’re thinking of going and you haven’t sorted your accommodation by early spring you really need to get a wriggle on.
Here are some tips that might save you a few quid or help maximise availability before you book.
Some thoughts on timing…
Save on the first week
Shows are often cheaper the first few days – in fact the first Monday and Tuesday of the Fringe it’s two-for-one at the major venues – saving you a packet if you book ahead. Many acts have yet to be reviewed so they reward you for taking a punt, and hopefully boosting later attendance by your own word-of-mouth recommendations.
Saturdays and Sundays are busier as locals turn out on their days off and tourists save their annual leave by straddling their break over a weekend. Ticket prices rise with attendance levels, so Saturday, Sunday and often Friday too are pricier. (You might also want to avoid Friday and Saturday nights for more popular shows to swerve stag and hen parties).
Even established names usually follow the early-bird and weekday rule, for instance tickets for comedy TV panel show regular Susan Calman the other year were two-for-£14 on her first weekday show and thereafter her weekday tickets were £12, her weekend tickets £14.
Take children on the last week
If you have a family, bear in mind that the Scottish schools generally go back a week earlier than England’s. That means you’ve more chance or getting your bums on seats in the most popular kids’ shows then.
Location, Location, Location
Edinburgh is fairly compact and you’ll burn a lot of calories plodding the streets during the festival. However, a surprisingy lack of late night buses means you can’t always guarantee a ride back from your last gig, so try for digs that you can walk to if needs be. On the other hand, if everywhere is booked up and you aren’t worried about doing the late shows, remember anywhere with a train route into Waverley station or on the bus or (much derided) tram routes will be OK.
Save before you go…
A lot of established acts do Edinburgh warm-ups in cities around the country at discount prices. From Spring onwards check out your local comedy club to see if they are hosting any such nights. The Brighton Fringe in May is also a good bet.