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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

To be in Edinburgh during its Edinburgh Festival

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It is worth gearing up for, for the annual August festival of Edinburgh; which is also the largest annual cultural festival in the world. There are just so many things you can do at this time; with foreigners descending to the streets, the city is buzzing. In short, there is a lot of cheer and excitement everywhere.

The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for many arts and cultural festivals put on by various unrelated organisations and are therefore officially separate events, but regarded as the same event as a whole, as it’s all taking place at the same time. There are so many festivals you’ll enjoy; out of which the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are the largest and original components of the festival. I personally love the Military Tattoo and the buzz and excitement I had in the Princes Street garden waiting for the fireworks display to start and setting up my camera to capture the night.

Fireworks on display

Fireworks on display

Edinburgh International Festival: This festival of performing arts takes place over three weeks from around the middle of August; and includes top class performers of music, theatre, opera and dance from all around the world. It also hosts a series of visual art exhibitions, talks and workshops.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Don’t be misled by the term ‘tattoo’ here. There is no ‘ink’ involved : -) but rather it is used to describe the ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed at the esplanade of Edinburgh castle each year by Military musicians that composed of British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International Military bands. It is Scotland’s best-selling spectacle and so is not a surprise that tickets for this big event is always sold out in advance; hence the need to be alert about it couple of months prior to the event. The Tattoo activity will entertain you with its high-tech illumination, imaginative graphics, thundering sounds of drums and bagpipes, impressive marching and specially commissioned fireworks.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or simply The Fringe): The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It is an unjuried festival, meaning there is no selection committee and therefore any type of performance can participate; and includes a street fair which is located on the Royal Mile. Other shows include Music, Dance & Physical Theatre, Musicals and Opera, and Children’s shows, in addition to assorted Events and Exhibitions.

Other popular festivals include iFest, Edinburgh Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Interactive Festival, Edinburgh People’s Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Mela, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival and a whole lot more. Enough of reading and hearing about it; only when you have been a part of this big event can you say you have really seen the best of Edinburgh!

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Things to do in Edinburgh

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The Homecoming 2009 and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

This is the year to travel to Scotland!  This year Scotland is hosting its first Homecoming.  The Homecoming is taking place to honor the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth.  Don’t know you Robert Burns is?  That’s okay because before my trip to Edinburgh I was not aware of who he was either.  Robert Burns is claimed to be the national poet of Scotland.  Still don’t know what he is famous for?  He is most well known for writing ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the song that is sung to celebrate the end of the year on New Years Eve.  During the Homecoming there are over 200 events taking place to celebrate: Robert Burns, whisky, golf, great Scottish innovations/minds, as well as Scottish ancestry.

Bagpipes being played (Flickr by Tyla'75)

Bagpipes being played (Flickr by Tyla'75)

Edinburgh is also known as a festival hub.  Throughout the year Edinburgh is home to 12 fantastic festivals.  This coming month from August 7- August 31 the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be taking place.  The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world!  It will have 2,000 different shows ranging from dance, theater, children’s exhibits, musicals, comedy, and various other genres.  These performances will range from professional acts  all the way down to street performances. continue reading

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Pictures from Edinburgh Fringe

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I finally got my camera cable to work! Here are some photos from my trip to the Edinburgh Fringe.

performers-on-royal-mile-edinburgh.jpg

(Above) Performers “advertising” our show on the Royal Mile (this is perhaps the most common and effective marketing method that companies use to promote their shows, often up to 4 times/week).

edinburgh-royal-mile.jpg

Royal Mile – late afternoon – the chaos had died down a bit.

Roxy Art House Edinburgh

Behind the scenes at the Roxy Art House (a really cool venue where we did our show) in Edinburgh.

KFOTR at Roxy Art House Edinburgh

Lastly, the final run of the musical at the Roxy Art House.

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Jess celebrates 2 years with isango!

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We held a small do last week to celebrate Jess’s two years with isango! Fearless in Biz Dev, she also nearly brought the ceiling down with her enthusiastic champagne popping technique.

Jess celebrates with champagne

Of course, the prospect of a little bubbly on a Thursday afternoon has got the rest of the isango! team thinking of other causes célèbres to announce: a sunny afternoon, a British Olympic medal, an upcoming bank holiday!

Some of us will be off to Edinburgh, Norway, Hastings, and the rest will simply enjoy an extra day to cook, drink wine, and enjoy the Notting Hill Carnival.

Where will you go and what will you do? Let us know!

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Edinburgh Fringe: Avoid the Royal Mile Madness

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“It’s so cool to be at the Fringe with a show that I’m not embarrassed about,” explained a vivacious, young college student as he ‘fliered’ me on the ‘Royal Mile’ during the opening weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Edinburgh is chaos right now. I can’t imagine being a local resident, attempting to go about a daily routine. Forget it! The ‘Royal Mile’ (which is actually a series of seven streets that connect the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood House) is swarming with enthusiastic performers and tourists at all hours of the day. Look left, and there’s a group of buskers, clowning to a semi circle of families; listen right, and it’s a booming chorus of actors, belting catchy show tunes; stand still, and three producers will simultaneously attempt to shove fliers in your face about X show, with X Y and Z special effects, which is going to have rave reviews— really, they promise!

There are hundreds of shows of all genres—from morning Shakespeare to midnight stand up—playing in venues across Edinburgh throughout the month of August. Lots of rubbish, but also, some fabulous gems. How to sift through the madness? How to know which is the best of the 3 versions of Little Shop of Horrors? Or which of the 2 performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has the best ‘Puck’? How to gauge whether the musicals with the most off-putting, controversial titles (examples: Kiddy-Fiddler On The Roof and The Great American Trailer Park Musical) are as well-written and composed as their eager participants claim?

I wish I could offer you a full-proof formula.

The truth is, even if you research the reviews thoroughly, you are still bound to encounter some time waster shows. The best way to find some performances that will suit your tastes is really to ask around once you’ve arrived. If you, like me, loathe the idea of plodding down a jam packed pedestrian street full of makeshift stages, noisy kids, irritated parents, and over-excited marketing reps, I suggest pre-booking a few shows online—ones that you are pretty much certain you will enjoy—before heading up (exs: stand up by a well-known comedian, performance of a play by your favourite writer, a street dance show with rave reviews, etc.). Book two or three shows for your first day, leaving plenty of time in between each show. This will allow you time to investigate…i.e. ask fellow audience members what they’ve seen, loved and hated. Find out whether Kiddy-Fiddler on the Roof is suitable for your 10 year old son (- no!) or is as hilarious as the adverts claim (-yes!). Stumble across a young writer, who claims that his new drama—playing at a nearby venue in 30 minutes—is even better than his 2007 sell-out production, and take a chance.

And lastly, if you’ve got the energy, hit up the local bars for a few late night (…and early morning) pints. Everything stays open until 5am, and you are bound to find out about some great shows (and creperies…and kebab stands…). But whatever you do, avoid the Royal Mile!

Links:

Guided Tour of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Fringe Official Website

Fringe Reviews

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