Image: Strong Man Circus Show for Festival Fringe on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile by Blog Edinburgh, under a Creative Commons licence
As July’s drizzle gives way to August’s intermittent downpours, the pullulating pitter-patter of tourists’ footsteps up and down the Royal Mile heralds the arrival, once again, of the esteemed Edinburgh Fringe. Whether you’re a first-time Fringe-goer or seasoned spectator, resident poet of the Scottish capital, bard from broader afield, or simply a lover of literature seeking the spoken word, we at the Scottish Poetry Library have put together our very own Poet’s Survival Guide to get your through the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.
A Clothing for the soul divine: Dressing to egress at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Dreich. Mochie. Drookit. Just a sprinkling of words evoking the the changeable (though consistently close) coastal climate of the Scottish capital. While sunshine in Scotland is not unheard of, the forecast for rain is never far away. So keep an umbrella near and layer up. In Edinburgh, the ‘sky’s unpredictable theatre’ has only one show and it’s a long-running absurdist play with gales, smirr, and harr starring as the leading roles. Sensible shoes are a good idea. When it’s stoating (raining so hard that drops bounce off the street), the Royal Mile is more like the Royal Slalom, so get a good grip and go for gold.
The Road Not Taken: Navigating the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. From Castlehill to Canongate, this cobbled carotid vein runs two hundred metres longer than a regular mile through the heart of the city. During the Fringe, a deluge of hungover performers clog this artery of artistry and the street becomes a veritable clot of creative chaos. Each year, flyering gets evermore creative and getting from A to B or refusing a flyer as complicated. Don’t lose your cool. These performers are, after all, singing for their suppers. Keep your hands busy: poetry book in one hand; brolly in the other. Many a Fringe-goer has walked the Royal Mile empty-handed in August kindly refusing flyers only to make it to the other side with more pages than a poet on a submission deadline. If you are looking for some relative piece and quiet, the Scottish Poetry Library is open every day of the Fringe (except Sundays and Mondays)!
Give me back my silver penny: Budgeting at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Whether you’re planning on spending ‘restless nights in one-night cheap hotels’ or crashing on a fellow poet’s garret floor this Fringe, saving on accommodation costs is by far your best bet if you’re doing the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 on a shoestring. There are hundreds of free shows and if ever there was a reason for two poets to embrace their social awkwardness, the Edinburgh Fringe also offers 2for1 tickets. And don’t forget the street performers and the Book Fringe. Now in its tenth year, the Book Fringe is an entirely independent festival of words and ideas. A unique collaboration between Lighthouse—Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop—and Golden Hare Books, all events are free and unticketed. Music to a poet’s ears!
And time yet for a hundred indecisions: Choosing poetry shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019
When you’ve counted your pennies and got your finances relatively in order, deciding how and what you go and see can pose an equally dastardly dilemma, particular with so many events going on. Luckily for you, we at the Scottish Poetry Library have compiled many of the literary and spoken word events into our calendar which you can find here. Pick up at the Scottish Poetry Library a copy of the Edinburgh International Book Festival programme, detailing the 2019 line-up. Swing by and we’ll let you know the word on the street for all events literary.
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night: Finding late-night literary events during the Edinburgh Fringe 2019
While Edinburgh is far from being a sleepless city, burning the midnight oil is par for the course for performers and spectators alike at the Fringe, and you can find a great many spoken word and literary events going on late into the evening and even into the wee hours. Typewronger, Edinburgh’s late night bookshop, is open until ten o’clock during the Fringe and their open mic is the ‘most eclectic and badly behaved in the city’! If you’re looking for a post-prandial, post-Fringe, whiskey-infused jaunt, be sure to check out the award-winning Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour which has been going strong since 1996 and promises a cocktail of history, literature, whisky, and song.