The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a vibrant celebration of arts and culture

ByAndrea Thompson

June 27, 2024

With Scotland’s capital city celebrating its 900th birthday, the Fringe Festival is set to return in August. Here are some interesting facts.


The Edinburgh Fringe Festival originated in 1947 as an alternative stage for artists not included in the main Edinburgh International Festival. Eight theatre groups chose to present their shows regardless, leading to the term “fringe,” coined by playwright Robert Kemp in 1948.

This term has since become the festival’s official name, and in 1958, the Fringe Festival Society was established to assist performers and maintain the festival’s principles.


Millions of people attend the Fringe each year. In 2019, a record-breaking 3 million tickets were sold, making it the most successful arts festival globally, ranking it in third place after the Olympics and the World Cup.

Tom Stoppard’s Debut: Playwright Tom Stoppard premiered his play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” at the Fringe in 1966.  There was only one paying customer but was such a success it launched Stoppard’s career.

67 Countries represented at the 2023 festival with 3,000 shows hosted over the 288 venues.

Smallest Theatre:

The Laughing Horse Chicken Coop is the smallest venue in the festival which holds 3 persons.

Poster Placement:

Performers can only put up posters on the big red pillars found on the Royal Mile, although some cafes do now allow posters.

Diverse Events:

The Fringe hosts hundreds of events, including concerts, theatre, opera, dance, and street performances. The Festival Fringe Society publishes a yearly programme, sells tickets and advice as to performers.  Its office is situated along the Royal Mile.

In 2009 – The Edinburgh Fringe is deemed as the world’s largest arts festival by the Guinness Book of Records.

The record for attending shows in one festival season is held by David Chapple from Cornwall.  In 2014 he attended 304 shows.

Whether you’re a theatre enthusiast or simply curious, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival offers an unforgettable experience.