Fringe Festival 2016

The world’s largest arts festival – the Fringe – is held every year in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It is spread out over 25 days – with artists from 60 nations participating.  Expect to see over 2000 shows at 250+ differecnt venues.


The event was started in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival.  The scottish capital is transformed into a showcase for the performing arts – focusing mostly on theatre.  Dance and music are also well represented.  Most productions range from classical greek plays to Shakespeare to Beckett – and more modern works.  Over a third of the shows had the premieres in 2009.

Unique Feature of Festival:

There are no juries to judge any of the show – and no selection committee.  So entry for any kind of act is open – experimental acts are weclomed with open arms.  Paying for an entrance ticket gives people an opportunity to experience street fairs, dance, music and diverse performances.

How it started:

The event started when 8 drama companies participated in the Edinburgh International Festival without an invitation.  They performed several unusual plays – and it remained a free event for quite a few years.  In 1969 – the Fringe Society became a constituted body and employed its very first administrator – John Milligan.  Between 1976 and 1981, the number of performers rose to 494 – to make it the largest art festival in the world.


The event has grown dramatically in the 65 years since its inception.  In 2011 the numbers were as follows:

  • 40,000 performances
  • 2500 shows
  • 258 venues
  • Ticket Sales totalling 1.8 million


  • Comedy is the most popular
  • Theatre was originally the most important.
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Musicals and Operas
  • Children’s shows
  • Assorted Events and Exhibitions

These are some of the events that one can see and enjoy at the Festival. This festival and the city of Edinburgh have helped to establish the careers of several performers and writers.

Festivals Article Archive