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It’s August 1. The population of Edinburgh has swelled to three times its usual size, and the whole of the Scottish capital is buzzing with artistic anticipation.

It’s the world famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe and performers, audiences and artistes are ready and waiting for curtains-up.

Throughout the three-week extravaganza, some treats are a daily occurrence, some run for just a few days and some shine as a one-off. Daily shows include 30-minute comedy quips, silly sing-songs and animations for little‘ uns, and hard-hitting drama to get guests in to a soul-seeking mood.

Come 11am, this little city is already alive with a festival spirit as theatres open doors and street performers get into their grooves. The Royal Mile is lined with off-duty actors handing out fliers with unbridled enthusiasm, while the Half-Price Hut dishes out discounted tickets to a jolly orderly queue; for all the cosmopolitan atmosphere, we are still in the UK, after all.

Venues are scattered around the city centre and beyond with many just minutes away from each other. The culture-hungry scurry from stand-up in an underground cocktail bar to an improvised musical in the Merchant’s Hall. Or some stroll the historic streets searching for freebies and watching whatever catches the eye.

Aussie acts are heading over in their droves, including TNT interviewees Axis of Awesome (see next month’s issue) and Brendan Burns, so you can find a slice of home in Scotland. After dark, the comedy gets just a little bit naughtier, theatre gets ghostly and revellers kick up their heels at Ceilidh dances.

Most evenings see the iconic Edinburgh Castle swathed in the sounds of bagpipes at the Military Tattoo. A thousand pipers, drummers and dancers put on a display of traditional tunes and contemporary movement, culminating in a blast of fireworks from the castle ramparts. It’s a quintessentially Scottish end to the day, and just the inspiration you’ll need to do it all again tomorrow.


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Festival guide: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe
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