What is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? 

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a world-renowned and open-access performing arts festival. Every August, Edinburgh welcomes global talent from household names to emerging artists to perform at hundreds of stages and venues across the city.  

You can experience a wide variety of live performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe including theatre, comedy, circus, cabaret, musicals, opera, music, dance and more. 

The Royal Mile – in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town – is where visitors and locals alike watch street performers stilt walk, eat fire or juggle while university theatre clubs and dramatic groups hand out flyers and give small taster performances to entice audiences to their shows. 

You can experience live performances in various venues across the city from concert halls and theatres to parks and bars. There are also plenty of Fringe street events where you can experience incredible outdoor performances for free.   

The Made in Scotland showcase supports Scottish artists and companies to present work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and allows them to discover opportunities that come from performing at the festival.

Artist performing an act at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival surrounded by a large crowd
Photo credit: David Monteith

When is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2024? 

In 2024, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will take place 2–26 August.  

In 2023, the theme for the Fringe was 'fill yer boots' - which is to get as much as possible of something valuable or desirable. 

Last year, shows tackled a range of issues affecting the world today including mental health, gender identity, race, and climate change.

What is the history of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? 

The Fringe began in 1947 when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited during the official Edinburgh International Festival.  

The Fringe Society was created in 1958 and the event is now the world's largest arts festival.

The festival has helped to hone the skills of some of the finest comedy and acting talent from the UK and abroad, including Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Mike Myers, Robin Williams, and Rowan Atkinson. 

Notable Fringe performances over the years have included the first performance in 1966 of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; comedians Bill Bailey, Owen O'Neill, Phil Nichol, and Stephen Frost in 12 Angry Men in 2003; and Ricky Gervais playing to 6,000 people at Edinburgh Castle in 2007. 

Group of women wearing brightly coloured clothing holding hands on a stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Photo credit: David Monteith-Hodge

How to get to the Edinburgh Fringe  

There are so many ways to travel to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe whether it’s by rail, road, or car sharing.  

  • By rail: Edinburgh Waverley train station is close to many of the festival destinations. 
  • By road: Edinburgh is well connected and travelling by road allows you to enjoy the scenery. You can travel by coach or car share, a great way to save costs while protecting the planet.  
  • By air: Edinburgh International Airport is easy to reach from the city. 

Once you arrive in Edinburgh, you will be spoiled for choice on how to get around. During August, the quickest way to get around is to walk as many of the venues are close together.  

However, you can also cycle, take a bus, or use the tramline which runs directly from Edinburgh Airport via Princes Street and St Andrew Square. 

Related content