August Round-Up: Working The Edinburgh Festival Fringe
For the whole month of August I was working in one of the venues at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I won’t tell you which one as I work for them full time – we are one of the unusual venues if that helps you narrow it down.
I will be writing a more detailed general post about what it’s like working at the Edinburgh Festival but for today’s post I just wanted to get my feelings out whilst they’re still fresh in my memory.
I’ll be honest, back in July the last thing I wanted to do was spend my month working the festival; I was ill, tired, bored of my job and I would have done pretty much anything to get out of it without jeopardising my job and feeling guilty about letting people down. Since there was no way to do that, off I went.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, behind all my anxious thoughts, I knew I’d love it once I was there. Having said that I didn’t expect to cry on the train home because I loved it so much. I honestly did not want to leave this August behind. From the beauty of the city to the amazing people who became my Edinburgh family, I loved it all.
We (those of us working together) had a saying during the Edinburgh Festival: Edinburgh is not real life. And I can’t stress how true that was. Being there was like being in a bubble, where nothing and nobody existed beyond its perimeters.
We spent all day every day together, from working in the same venue, living in the same flat to drinking together in the same bars. We broke the rules together, cried about how exhausted we were together, and then laughed until we cried completely different tears. We got horrendously drunk together – and then did it all again the next day, and the day after that – we ate too much junk food together (but also got far too excited when we actually ate a vegetable) and had cosy sleepovers in each others’ rooms. We saw shows, both good and bad, made friends with comedians, and swapped life stories on the famous cobblestone streets.
More importantly we became great friends with each other and I made memories that will last forever. I felt like I truly fitted in for probably the first time in my life and that makes me incredibly happy.
The last time I was in Edinburgh, before working the festival this year, was in 2012 when the Olympic rings stood proudly on the hill below the castle. I didn’t see much of the city that day so, despite my feelings about going there to work, I was excited to explore the city some more.
Our flat was in the heart of Old Town Edinburgh and, from one of the bedrooms, we could see the sea and Arthur’s seat. I walked the length of The Royal Mile just the once as the amount of tourists was almost unbearable. Despite that it was good fun watching mini-snippets of peoples shows, street performers and desperate acts trying to flyer in the midst of all the chaos. On some nights a few of us sneaked into the dark caves (which are really vaults) that weren’t being used as venues to go on a self-guided ghost tour. It was definitely alcohol which spurred me on to do that!
I also went on a touristy walk of the city with one of my new pals. He took me past the Parliament, The Palace of Holyrood House and up The Salisbury Crags at sunset to watch the city descend into darkness from above. We waited in the cold for the fireworks from the Tattoo but there was only one. That didn’t matter though as we piled out of a cocktail bar to join the rest of the city in watching the end of Fringe fireworks a few days later on my last night there. These were two of the most perfect evenings to round off a wonderful summer in Edinburgh with.
I miss you already, Edinburgh. See you next year.
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