Edinburgh based plus size style and fat positive blogger AmandaApparel shares 10 tips for surviving and making the most of the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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So, you made the pilgrimage to Edinburgh for The Fringe...now what? Well, if you haven't already done so then you should definitely book tickets to see the fat performers listed in my #FatFringe guide that I posted last week. The festival can be an overwhelming season, for sure. It's hot outside, there is *always* something on, and Fringe burnout is very real. This is my 8th Fringe while living in Edinburgh, and I performed twice before that. Today marks the first day of the 2019 festival, so I'm sharing 10 tips for surviving and making the most of your time in Edinburgh during The Fringe.
1. Dress for comfort
Listen. I'm nearly 30, and I've finally embraced dressing for comfort. That doesn't mean you can't look cute or fashionable! It's more just adopting the mentality that you deserve to be comfy, and that your clothes don't have to be pinching and poking you, you know? For me, that shift looked like wearing bralettes instead of wired bras (or going braless, even though my rack is a 40GG haha) and switching from flats and boots to trainers.
There are a lot of comfort related things you can't control, like hard seats, attic venues that feel like a sauna, and getting stuck in traffic jams. You deserve comfort wherever you can get it, starting with your shoes!
2. Pace yourself
With all of the excitement and incredible energy in Edinburgh at the start of The Fringe, it's easy to get sucked in and stay up late and get up early and you wind up getting burnt out. Fringe burnout is for real, and so is Fringe flu. You don't want to wear yourself out and end up being sick because of it. Make a plan for the duration of your stay, and remember to take time to rest.
If you're an overly organised freak like me, you could use a spreadsheet (don't @ me!) to plan which gigs you want to attend. Keeping a mini diary or even a small notebook with you can help you stay on top of the shows, and might even help you squeeze in that amazing drag cabaret you just got a flyer for! Which brings us to number 3...
3. Totes and backpacks are your friends
You need a place to put all your stuff! You'll no doubt have 5,000 flyers handed to you by the end of your first day in town, and I *better* not catch you littering! Totes and backpacks a great place to store them, even if it's only until you pass a recycling bin. The following tips include a few more things I recommend keeping in your bag at all times during the festival, because you'll 100% need them. Otherwise a big bag is great for lugging around stuffed animals, your meds, snacks, small dogs, you name it!
Did I mention it's hot out? It's hot inside. It's hot outside. It's hot under my boobs. It's hot, and you need a fan! Not only do they help you cool off, but you'll look dramatic as hell fanning yourself with one of these bad boys. Better yet, why not get a cute babe or two to fan you instead? That's the dream, eh?
5. Ask for recommendations
There's just *so* much going on at all times which makes it hard to decide which shows you should attend. I love asking around for recommendations! Especially by week 2 or 3, people have probably already seen a couple shows and odds are they'd love to tell you about them! Even the Free Fringe has a lot of great stuff to offer, but it's a bit like bargain hunting, right? Asking around for recommendations can help you sift through all the mess and find something that you'll really enjoy.
6. Protect your skin
Did I mention it's hot out? Did I? Even when it's not harsh direct sunlight, you still need to be protecting that luscious skin with some SPF. Most UV rays can pass through clouds, which means that overcast and cloudy skies can still put your skin at risk. There are loads of good sunblocks out there that are sprays or sticks, which are amazing for re-applying quickly throughout the day!
7. Eat like a local
Sure, you may want to hit up the Harry Potter cafe (not me, I hate HP, sue me) which is totally your prerogative. And of course food trucks are delicious and convenient. However, it's TOTALLY worth it to go off of the main roads and try smaller, local eating and drinking eating establishments. Not only will they be less packed, but they'll likely be less expensive as well.
If you happen to find yourself in the south side near Summerhall, August_21 is a cosy cafe with loads of tasty food, GF/DF/vegan options, and I hear the girl who makes the sandwiches is super cute.
It's me. I am that cutie hahah!
8. Bring change for tip jars
Performers, especially street performers, buskers, and Free Fringe acts, rely on tips during this month. Having a coin purse to keep your change tidy is a lot more handy than digging through your pockets or bag trying to find a spare quid or two.
Hey, uh, I don't know if you heard but it is HOT in Edinburgh. If you're sweating, on the sauce, or both, then you gotta replenish your body with heaps of water. Instead of single use plastic bottles, why not pack a reusable bottle instead? There are loads of bottle filling stations around town, and most pubs/venues will hook you up with free water as well. Please stay hydrated kiddos! You deserve it!
10. Be kind
Finally, the most important reminder. Be kind. For better or for worse, we're all in this chaotic festival season together, and a little kindness goes a long way. Be kind to your surroundings. Be kind to performers. Be kind to folks handing out flyers. Be kind to service staff. Be kind to other audience members. And don't forget, be kind to yourself.