It’s the time of year when Edinburgh welcomes thousands of performers and visitors to the city for the world largest arts festival. Love it or hate it, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a hot topic for visitors and locals alike. Here’s out pet hates, things we love about this year’s festival, our tips for getting organised to visiting in 2011 and on why you should make it part of an excitingcorporate incentive package for your team.

Here’s our love / hate relationship with the theatrical hijack if Edinburgh for the Festival Fringe:

Hate it.

Crowds:

You can see why over 40,000 performances of over 2,000 shows, involving over an estimated 21,000 performers, attracts thousands and thousands of visitors to the city. This equals crowded chaos! The streets never seem to sleep, which is great if you’re sitting back soaking up the atmosphere, but not if you’re trying to get about, to your next show, or running for the train as the Hello Scotland team experience this week – the footpaths were so busy we ending up in the bus lane!

Flyers:

They’re a great was of spreading the word about a performance, but as our green Champion Claire points out – it’s so very un-green! Hundreds of these litter the streets every day as passers by are bombarded with acts hungry for an audience.

There must be a way of reducing this paper wastage!

Hotel rooms:

Edinburgh has a great selection of hotels, and any other time of year it’s fairly easy to get a room. But during August it’s really difficult – and if you’re booking multiple rooms on behalf of clients, it’s practically impossible!

Love it.

Festival in the Sky:

Last Saturday I dined at 100 feet above Princess Street Gardens, suspended in the air by a crane! Ok, so it’s not exactly a traditional part of the Fringe, but it was great fun!

Porgy and Bess:

Thanks to the lovely team at Hotel Du Vin, we were lucky enough to attend a performance of Porgy and Bess with them on Tuesday. Not knowing what to expect, we were excited to see a very modern take on the 1930’s operatic musical, with a giant screen that interlaced into the performance in an unusual and very creative way.

Check out the video here

Udderbelly

It’s a landmark, upside down purple cow 'venue'…what’s not to love?

A modern icon of the festival and central hub of the Underbelly venues, there's always a great atmosphere in the Udderbelly. It's a firm favourite with locals and visitors, ideal for late evening drinks and good banter.

Our tips for 2011

If you’ve missed out on a trip to Edinburgh this year, why not start planning for 2011? Here’s a few tips to get your planning underway…

1. Book your hotel now!

It might seem a bit excessive but believe me, it gets super busy and the longer you leave it, there’s a higher chance the rate will go up.

2. Fringe Newsletter

Keep up to date and book the best shows early as soon as the tickets go on sale. With big names like Alan Cummings, Eddie Izzard and even Dizzee Rascal selling out, you won’t wont to miss them next year!

3. Look out for… The Fringe App

This was great for finding our who was playing where, when. We reckon it’ll be even slicker this year, and maybe even include live ticket info…!

Why not visit as part of your 2011 incentive?

A lot of companies steer clear of the Festival Fringe, thinking that it’s too expensive, too busy and too much hassle for an incentive group. But it doesn’t have to be! So why wouldn’t you give your group an experience of a lifetime?

Here's some great ways an incentive group can enjoy the Fringe:

  • Stay in Glasgow where hotel rooms will be cheaper and less busy
  • Get a private transfer to Edinburgh, perhaps in a vintage coach, or travel by train
  • Have a private drinks reception at the theatre before/at the interval of a show
  • Be part of the show watched by millions on TV – the Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  • Your DMC could provide you with a suggested show itinerary, based upon their interests
  • Fits perfectly as a leisure day, then groups could leave the city for a gala dinner in countryside stately home

Share your comments and experiences of the Fringe with us by leaving a comment below!

Lisa

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