The Edinburgh Fringe versus the Military Tattoo

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I can’t believe tomorrow will be the first day of July! It’s about time for me to start planning my trip up to Edinburgh during the city’s festival season.

If you’ve never been to Edinburgh in August – when the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, International Festival, Jazz and Blues Festival, Art Festival and International Book Festival take place – I would definitely recommend it. This usually serene city starts moving at a stunningly fast rate and reportedly quadruples in population size – understandably, much to the annoyance of local residents.

The Fringe is the biggest by far; it’s actually the biggest arts festival in the world, hosting over 2000 shows spanning theatre, comedy, music and dance genres, and more than 18,000 performers. Add to that thousands of audience members and international press who come along every year and it’s no wonder that the streets are bulging for 30 days. People are almost literally strewn out over the infamous Royal Mile, peddling their wares, distributing flyers and soaking up the carnival atmosphere.

However, at the top of the Royal Mile, there’s an altogether more sophisticated affair – although offering just as much, if not more, exuberance: the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I’ve been going up to Edinburgh almost every summer for the last decade to catch the festivals in action but, unbelievably, I’ve never been to the Tattoo, although I have seen it on television.

Luckily that’s going to change this year – a friend of mine has a spare ticket to this year’s show, which marks the 60th anniversary of the event, I’m really looking forward to my very first Edinburgh Tattoo break. They haven’t released too many details about the programme yet but, since this is the year of Homecoming in Scotland, I think it’ll be extra special!

Rest assured that once I’ve been to the Tattoo – and had my annual fix of Fringe madness – I’ll report back and let you know how the two experiences compare. But if anyone out there has any strong feelings on the matter, I’d love to hear them! I mean, if you had to choose a week at the Fringe or one night at the Tattoo, which would you go for? I’m all ears…

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