The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

August 3rd, 2011


Every August, Edinburgh hosts the largest arts festival in the world. With over 250 venues and 40,000 performances, the city buzzes with activity. New venues have been popping up everyday in the every nook and cranny of the city in the last few days leading up to the grand opening this Friday. Running from August 5 – 29 this year, I have aligned myself with a position to write as a critic of Events and Exhibitions, for which I will be granted a journalist's pass for all events of my choosing. For the remainder of the month, I will cover all the events and shows of interest, highlighting the good, the up-and-coming, and most likely a bit of the terrible.


The Edinburgh Fringe Festival started when a number of theatre companies took advantage of the foregathered crowds and crashed the first Edinburgh International Festival held in Edinburgh in 1947. Gaining momentum each year, the festival held on to its avant-garde beginnings and still functions as an 'un-juried' festival, meaning still none of the performers are vetted nor denied. This has, at times, lead to a lack of quality control, but on the whole, the open admission has allowed amateur performers to book venues and have a crack at their dreams. The shows vary, covering dramas, dances, music and comedy, though in the past few years, comedy has taken centre stage.

The Fringe Festival in Minneapolis kicks off tomorrow, August 4th, and runs through August 14th. Much in the same spirit as the Edinburgh Festival, Minneapolis runs on an anything-goes mindset, advising first time festival-goers to wear anything they like, as long as its legal. Being a city with theatres to rival New York City, the Minneapolis Fringe has 168 different shows lined up this year, covering genres like comedy, satire, hip-hop, musical/opera, gay/LGBT, political, etc. Also in the same spirit as its precedent Edinburgh, each act is selected at random. Back in February, every applicant was designated a ping-pong ball number and selected one by one out of a bingo cage, so there is no jury and every has a chance to perform, making each year an exciting new experience.

Caroline Engel for Danish Teak Classics 

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