Edinburgh Festival 2023: A Survival Guide

It’s that time of year again.

Yes, gather around, ladies and gentlemen. Get your tickets now. The greatest show on earth is back in town.

The Edinburgh Festival is the cultural event of the year here in Edinburgh. For one month, in a town that is already simmering with the buzz and excitement of the summer season, Edinburgh absolutely explodes into a beautiful confetti storm of art, storytelling and conversation.

It’s mad, it’s exhausting and, yes-oh-yes, it’s absolutely fantastic.

To fully get to grips with it all, however, it’s best to be prepared. If you’re new to the Festival and not ready for the carnival of chaos that’s about to sweep you away, it might all come across as a tincy-wincy bit overwhelming.

But don’t worry, you lovely lumps of goodiness. Belvoir Edinburgh is here to help you through.

If you want to enjoy this beautiful event and avoid getting stunned like rabbits in headlights, there are some things you can do to help make it all a little bit easier.

So, pour yourself a drink and bung a brightly coloured umbrella in it. 

Here are 5 tips to survive the Edinburgh Festival 2023.

What Do You Want?: That’s the big question, isn’t it. How do you want to spend your time? Here at Belvoir Edinburgh, we’re all for deep philosophical questions. But, right now, we think it’s best to focus this particular quandary on the Edinburgh Festival. You’ve got plays, you’ve got musicals, you’ve got stand-up comedy, you’ve got political commentary…Cor blimey, there’s just so much to choose from…. Don’t worry. Take some time and think about what you’re interested in. What makes you happy? What’s your passion? Because, whatever it is, you’ll find it here at the Edinburgh Festival. You just need to know where to look.

Fringe Magazine: So you know what you want. Good job! Now what you’ve got to do is grab yourself a copy of the Fringe Magazine. No, it won’t have absolutely everything that’s going on in the Festival as it’s a purely Fringe focused publication. There are separate magazines for the likes of the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival, etc. But, my goodness, the Fringe Magazine is an absolute essential to help navigate through what is going on in Edinburgh right now. So, pick it up (you can get it at the Fringe Shop and numerous venues across the city), find a quiet corner and mark up some shows that you might be interested in. It’s a thick read, so you might want to get yourself a snack whilst you do it. However, it’s also fascinating and bundles of fun. What are you waiting for? Go! Go now!

Watch The Weather: The promise of summer does not guarantee the promise of sun. Here in Scotland, probably more than anywhere else on earth, that simply could not be more true. We can have all seasons in one day here, so be sure to check out the weather forecast before you head out for a day of adventure. Even if it says it’s going to be a beautiful day, it might be wise to roll up a raincoat and keep it in your bag – just in case. Having said all of that, let’s not be gloomy. It is August and the temperature is likely to be high, so remember to pack some water, sun block and, if it’s especially bright and toasty, sunglasses and a hat. All ready? Good. Now get out there and have some fun, you crazy animal.

Get Up Early: The Festival only comes once a year, so you want to make the absolute best of it. There’s so much going on from the early hours around about now in Edinburgh, but if you want to experience the madness at its most peaceful (well, as peaceful as it gets around here in August), then get up and get at it in good time. Pick yourself up a nice cup of coffee, take a stroll and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. It’s also a good time to pick up some good deals and snatch yourself up some tickets for later in the day. So set your alarm for 6am and let’s get this party started. 

Open Your Mind: Despite our opening point and our overall theme of ‘getting prepared’, it is also important to let loose and let the festival just draw you in. Just looking around, or having a day to look around, with no plans whatsoever, can be an extremely liberating and exciting experience. You never know what you might stumble across. Perhaps you’ll get free tickets to see a stand-up that will end up being the next big thing? Perhaps you’ll shelter from the rain by seeing something that you wouldn’t otherwise dream of seeing – and it will blow your mind! Just remember to keep your options open and to put aside some time where you are not under the constraints of ‘the plan’. It sounds dangerous…but that’s how we roll, baby!

The Edinburgh Festival is a remarkable, globally renowned and celebrated event. It’s a dazzling galaxy of entertainment where stars are born and lives are forever changed. It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s all about to hit us like a rampant, all singing, all dancing hurricane.

Our advice? Be prepared…But not too prepared. It’s good to let the storm take control now and again.

From everyone here at Belvoir Edinburgh, we hope you all have a wonderful Edinburgh Festival.

Let’s do this!