It’s upon us! The Fringe is here and tickets are selling fast, but as we all get very excited about the shows that are on offer and slightly overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the number of shows on offer it is very easy to get carried away and suddenly realise you have spent a fortune. Most of us don’t have an endless pot to get the money from and with food, drinks (more drinks), and tickets all taking their toll it can really stretch the budget and limit what you see.
If you’re looking to get as much festival action as you can for your money then here are some local’s tips for making the most of August with cheaper tickets.
Virgin Money Half Price Hut
One of the biggest sponsors, Virgin Money’s logo will become a familiar sight around the city, the square beside the National Gallery is one such decked out place and is home to the Fringe’s Half Price Hut.
As the name suggests, this is where you can get tickets at half of their usual retail price. There’s no knowing what will be there as it changes constantly, but go from late lunchtime to late afternoon for the biggest selection.
The local press usually has loads of half price or buy-one-get-one-free offers as well, take a look at that day’s paper to see that day’s offering.
Yes – FREE! There is no cheaper way to see the Fringe than free tickets. Off the main festival track there are two free versions of the Fringe – PBH’s Free Fringe and Free Festival – check out their respective websites for listings and times. These shows can be hit and miss (I’ve got up and walked out of a few before) but there are some hilarious shows on offer if you find the right one. Fans of Pirate-based puns and pop, for example, could do a lot worse than Jollyboat.
It’s worth bearing in mind that there’s a bucket that goes round at the end and you’re generally expected to chuck a few pounds in, so make sure you have lots of pound coins. Free Fringe is also great for making a day of it and going on a ten-hour show binge, it’s a great way to spend a day with some friends.
Big Names, Big Prices
It probably goes without saying that the biggest names you see at the Fringe come with a hefty price tag (last time I looked, Jimmy Carr was £18, Alan Davies likewise). But do not despair, pick your favourite of these if you want to be guaranteed a laugh but limit what you see or you’ll limit the number of shows you’ll see.
Friends of the Big Names
One of my favourite ways of seeing great shows without selling an organ on the black market is to go see some middle of the range shows. At about £7-9 many of these shows are excellent and not budget breaking. To get great shows think of the big names you’d like to see then look online to find out who supports them on tour. These guys and girls are usually on their way to the top and it’s good to see them now before their price rockets. Last year we went to see Carl Hutchinson (supports Chris Ramsey on tour) and left crying with laughter.
Do some research
The internet is your friend. So are magazines like the ‘the List’ and Edinburgh Blogs (like *shameless plug alert* Edinburgh Editor) and papers. With loads of show reviews these can be a great way of finding out who the hottest new (and still fairy cheap) acts and shows are. Doing this in the past we’ve seen the likes of Russell Howard, John Bishop, Adam Hills, Shappi Khorsandi and David O’Docherty. Look out for all those stars!
Competitions and Giveaways
Finally keep an eye out for free tickets and completions. Twitter and Facebook are often the place to find things, so follow the major venues and promoters and keep an eye out.
You could probably write a whole book about ways to save at the Fringe, but these are some that we actually use. Have you got a tip? Share it with us on Twitter and we’ll pass it on.