In August Edinburgh is host to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The festival is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place over three weeks. Every year thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists, the festival includes theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, exhibitions and events.
This year we followed Scaramanga bag owner and resident of Edinburgh Kirsty on her fringe experience. Recently back from living in Australia for a year Kirsty now lives in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. Stockbridge is home to many lovely cafes, bistros and restaurants. Having been working during the Fringe we were lucky enough to follow Kirsty on her day off. Planning on seeing a comedy show in the evening we spent the day looking at what else Edinburgh has to offer!
"The Fringe is pretty much where Edinburgh goes crazy for the month! Its the best of Edinburgh. It's hard to describe as there is just so much to see and do for every taste. You can spend all day seeing shows or just people watch and take in the great atmosphere and still have the best day ever, oh and the bars are open till 5am! "
Kirsty owns the medium leather satchel with front pocket and before we set off we had a peek to see what she packed for her day at the fringe. Kirsty loves taking pictures so her camera was a must and fits perfectly into her bag along with her journal and fringe guides.
"Im a book lover, so its great that I can fit everything in my bag for the day and still have room for my book. My bag is so comfortable I don't have to think about it and I can always fit more things in than i think! Everything a girl needs!'
Being a book lover, Kirsty's first stop was the Edinburgh international book festival which runs alongside the Fringe and is visited by over 200,000 people during the month. As well as a large not for profit bookstore (the festival is self funded) high profile writers from all over the world join the festival to give talks and debates on all sorts of topics and there is plenty to inspire the younger generations. Kirsty's favourite author is Sebastian Faulks and we spent a good while looking at all the new releases. We even had time to go next-door to the children's section to have a look at the books by Jackie Morris, who is also a Scaramanga bag lover!
Our next stop was St. Johns West End Fair where a collection of designers, artists and craft makers exhibit their original work. Just below Edinburgh castle the fair is packed together through a system of walkways around the church grounds and has everything from the cute to the curios. It's hard to imagine how they fit over 80 stalls in the fair. One of Kirstys favourite stalls was an furniture maker who's quirky and detailed upholstery was catching everyones eye.
After a coffee break we headed towards The Very Vintage shop. Although still very busy it was nice to get a breather through the meadows before going into the shop.
"The shop is awesome but it's so hard to walk away without wanting to buy everything!, When I first got my bag everyone was asking where i got it! although its a small shop its too easy to spend ages in it"
Kirsty purchased two prints of dogs, a notebook and a blanket. Being a dog lover (Her dog is called Eddie and travelled back from Australia with her) She said the prints would be perfect for her flat and intends to go back soon for more items for her flat.
After some lunch (The fringe offers up some fantastic street food) we followed Kirsty to collect her tickets. First we walked into the castle arena where the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place every year. The Tattoo is considered by some to be the Pièce de résistance of festival entertainment. Thousands from all over the world come to watch and hear the military bands perform and the fireworks can be heard all over Edinburgh every night. They even have a jet that flies over the audience!
We headed down the Royal Mile where lovers a street performers can really see it all! This is also a chance for acts to showcase and promote their shows. But don't expect to get down quickly as its one of the most popular areas and is packed with people and performers! Its just as well Kirsty's bag has plenty of space as the amount of fliers handed to us was crazy but it is a perfect way to hear about free shows!
When we finally made it through the crowds we went to pick up Kirsty's tickets. Ticket booths are located all over the city and some offer the half price deals of the day which is ideal for those who are money conscious but still want to see a great show!
Starting to tire from our busy day we headed towards George Square Gardens. The whole area is turned into a giant beer garden where food vans and bars provide the hungry and thirsty festival goers with sustenance in-between shows. We had an hour before Kirsty was to meet with her friends so to say thank you for sharing her day with Scaramanga we found a bench and enjoyed a nice cold beer!
Thank you Kirsty for sharing your day with us and we'll see you next year!
Author and Photographer Grant Jeffrey