What comes to mind when you read the word “August”? To most, the first thought will be “summer”, to Edinburgh residents it probably will be “Fringe”.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, often called the Edinburgh Fringe or simply The Fringe, is the largest performance arts festival in the world and it has been taking place in the Scottish capital every August since 1947. What started two years after the end of WWII as a way to bring culture back to the capital after the trauma of the War, it became the focal point of comedy, live shows and even the spring to success for countless bona fide stars of small and big screens. Many may not know that John Cleese (one of the founding members of Monty Python) Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz and Rowan Atkinson (globally known and loved as Mr Bean) got their start at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Even the current Fringe Society’s honorary President Phoebe Waller-Bridge got her start at the Fringe; in 2013 she premiered her show Fleabag, which later became a global hit on streaming services.

Last year, on its 75th anniversary, Fringe sold more than 2.2 million tickets to 50,000 performances [1]. The result, while being a success, was only the sixth-highest figure in the event’s history. The Fringe sells just as many tickets as the FIFA World Cup and it is second only to the Olympic games – however, unlike the aforementioned events, the Fringe is an annual event that brings over £200m annually to Scotland and the UK (however other sources put this figure closer to £1bn)[2].

The festival is an opportunity to see some of the best of the UK’s performing arts on display and showcase domestic talent to locals, talent scouts and tourists from all over the world. It is estimated that in the summer period around 3.5 million people visit Edinburgh, who would typically visit the festival for a portion of their stay and then use the remaining of their holiday to explore and discover “bonnie” Scotland and its history, culture, and of course natural beauty.

This August over 3000 shows will bring the world’s very best arts and culture to Edinburgh, giving the chance to residents and visitors to immerse themselves in a month long cultural event and experience the value arts and humanities bring to society.

Click here to find out more about this year’s Fringe shows.






[1] Ferguson, B. (2022, August 29). Edinburgh Festival Fringe sells more than 2.2 million tickets in 75th-anniversary year. The Scotsman.

[2] Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, 2020, Written evidence, Evidence to UK Parliament, What has been the immediate impact of Covid-19 on the sector? https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/2942/pdf/ Retrieved 4 August 2023