The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has been running since 1947 and came about as an alternative option to the large International Festival that takes place in Edinburgh every year. Annually in August hundreds of acts gather in Edinburgh in order to display their talents. Children's shows, comedy acts, dance troupes, theatre acts, circus, music, opera and many more acts entertain the crowds, while many displays take place on the Royal Mile and are totally free to view.
How the Fringe Began
Scottish playwright Roger Kemp named the gathering of alternative acts to the official ones at the international festival "the fringe" as they were taking place on the fringe of the official festival. By 1951 local university groups were offering accommodation to those who were attending the fringe festival at the local YMCA, while by 1959 the Festival Fringe Society was born. This society set out its constitution stating there would be no censorship or vetting of acts taking part in the Fringe Festival.
The organisation went from strength to strength outgrowing its original state therefore an administrator was appointed in 1970 in order to officially organise things. By 1981 the Edinburgh Fringe had become the largest arts festival in the world attracting acts from all over the globe. Today the Fringe is a colossus that includes thousands of shows and thousands of acts that showcase their talents in hundreds of venues across Edinburgh. Millions of tickets are sold every year too to those who wish to come and see superb talent and entertainment at its newest, oldest and best!
Naturally it's quite an attractive prospect for visitors to find that they can actually see some of the excellent talent on display at the Fringe for free! For the past eleven years the Free Festival has been showcasing talent making it accessible for those who cannot afford to pay to see acts performing at the festival. The Free Festival has nineteen venues plus thirty performing spaces with the aim of making it cheaper for not only visitors but the performers themselves to take part in the Fringe. Further information regarding what's on in 2016 can be found at the website.
The Fringe 2015
The Edinburgh Fringe is over now for another year, while the 2015 festival was one of the biggest and most successful yet. The comedy element of the fringe draws mammoth crowds with comedians old and new entertaining visitors, while whatever it is that makes you laugh you are bound to find an act to tickle your fancy here so to speak.
In 2015 there were some seventeen free comedy shows to choose from. Some shows are as we say free, while there are also shows that cost a mere £5.00 per ticket plus shows where you pay what you think the act was worth! All kinds of topics are covered by acts with some subjects raising eyebrows like only acts at the Comedy Fringe can do. For example Beth Vyse showcased her comedy entitled As Funny as Cancer which was an autobiographical take on the disease as Beth had gone through the rigours of cancer herself. Whatever your type of comedy is you will surely find it here!
Most of the awards given at the festival are run by independent organisations with just one main award offered by the Fringe Society. One such comedy award is the Amused Moose Comedy Award that is given to a newcomer that is a breakthrough comedy act. A panel of judges as well as Fringe visitors decide on the winner of this coveted award.
One liners are some of the funniest jokes there are and every year just one of the hundreds of one liners showcased at the festival will reign supreme. This year the best one liner 2015 was won by Darren Walsh who had a very successful festival proving extremely popular with festival visitors. So what was this laugh out loud one liner? Below are the top ten one liners from number one to ten.
- Darren Walsh I just deleted all the German names off my phone, Its Hans free
- Stewart Francis Kim Kardashian is saddled with a huge arse...but enough about Kanye West.
- Adam Hess Surely every car is a people carrier
- Masai Graham what's the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One is really heavy the other is a little lighter
- Dave Green If I could take just one thing to a desert island I probably wouldn't go
- Mark Nelson Jesus fed 5000 people with two fishes and a loaf of bread that's not a miracle thats Tapas
- Tom Parry Red sky at night shepherds delight blue sky at night. Day
- Alun Cochrane the first time I met my wife I knew she was a keeper. She was wearing massive gloves
- Simon Munnery clowns divorce. Custardy battle
- Grace the Child they're always telling me to live my dreams but I don't want to be naked in an exam I haven't revised for
So Many Shows But Which One to See?
The 2015 Fringe featured well over three thousand shows with over one thousand of those comedy productions. Many visitors simply prefer to wing it and turn up at the festival and take pot luck when it comes to taking in a comedy show, while others prefer to book in advance to guarantee a seat to see their preferred act. As usual there were some big names of the comedy circuit playing in 2015 and here is our choice of three who we think you may like to see in the future!
Adam Hills is probably best known for hosting Chanel 4's The Last Leg, while anyone who has seen the show will know how spontaneous and funny this Aussie is. Hills received rave reviews for his Fringe one hour performance and rightly so as his casual style that comes across as effortless is both engaging and hilariously funny too. Maybe you will catch his show in 2016?
Felicity Ward is a multi-award winning comedienne and writer whose stand up show about mental illness, irritable bowel syndrome and toilet humour is simply fabulous. The hour long performance kept the audience riveted and the time flew by so fast it seemed Felicity had only just begun when the show was over. Not to be missed so try to catch her if you can!
Nish Kumar holds the audience in the palm of his hand and is a superb stand-up comic who offers thought provoking comedy as an alternative to one off laughs. Nish proved very popular this year with his political agenda, discussion of financial matters and suggestion of a black James Bond being just some of the superb topics he covered from his own unique angle. If you can't be bothered sifting through the hundreds of shows offered then Nish is one to definitely watch.
Further information regarding the Fringe can be found at the official website.