Our culture vultures share their top Festival tips

Roll up, roll up for the greatest show on earth! The curtain has risen on this summer’s Edinburgh Festivals, drawing thousands of performers and visitors from across the globe to the capital.

If you’re a first-timer to our summer events – which includes the International, Fringe, Book, Art, and Jazz festivals – then the first thing that will strike you is the sheer scale.

There are literally hundreds of shows, exhibitions and talks taking place at venues across the city. You’ll find household names and festival first timers on the programme and while you may be tempted put headliners on your hit list, don’t forget to visit some of the more intimate venues as many performers have hit the big time after taking to the Edinburgh stage. In a few years, you could be telling your friends that you were there when they got their big break.

Still at a loss over what to go and see? Leave it to our own culture vultures to help you out – here’s what members of our team at The Chester Residence will be queuing up for.

Danny MacAskill, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Want to catch a wheely, wheely good show? Then MacAskill’s your man. You’ll be able to see this renowned stunt rider down at the Circus Hub performing all manner of crazy stunts on two wheels. Although sometimes he only uses one. And you can almost guarantee at some point he’ll use none as he flies through the air. Just don’t try this at home, folks.

Recommended by Rowan (front desk)

Stephen Fry, Edinburgh International Festival

His wit and wisdom have resonated with audiences all over the globe, and this summer Stephen Fry returns to the place where he got his big break…and made sure of his national treasure status. This year the comedic God will be keeping us entertained by looking at some of the myths from ancient Greece. Catch his show at Festival Theatre.

Recommended by Kenny (general manager)

ISH Dance Collective, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It’s dance – but not as you know it. This Dutch dance collective bring the stage to life with free running, skateboarding, BMX bikes and more. This show takes the best of urban arts – a term widely used to describe everything from street art to breakdancing - and challenges what the concept actually is. You can catch this show at the EIC – and you’ll need to catch your breath afterwards.

Recommended by Kasia (manager)

Tracey Thorn, Edinburgh International Book Festival

Perhaps better known for belting out 90s chart-topping hits as one half of the musical duo Everything But The Girl, Tracey will be sharing some highlights from her memoirs at Charlotte Square Gardens. Another Planet flits between her time growing up in the Hertfordshire countryside during the 1970s and her return there in 2016 – her first visit in 30 years.  This is her second memoir: clearly she was stringing us along when she declared, I Don’t Wanna Talk About It.

Recommended by Kate (head housekeeper)

Tom Crosbie: Nerd World Problems, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Professional nerd Tom Crosbie has spent months of his life learning feats and stunts that really have no practical use all for your entertainment at the Gilded Balloon Teviot. Charming, talented and almost certainly wearing a cardigan, Tom will leave you gasping at his impressive memory, laughing at his humble brand of comedy, and in awe of his dexterity with more Rubik’s Cubes than it’s sensible to own.

Recommended by Lewis (concierge)

Basil Brush, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

If you’re not from the UK, you might not be familiar with Basil Brush. All you need to know is that Bas is an icon. And if the small matter of the comedy genius actually being a talking fox doesn’t take you by surprise, then the fact that this is his first Fringe performance despite being in entertainment for over 50 years should. We cannot wait to see this absolute legend take to the stage at Udderbelly. Altogether now... boom, boom!!!

Recommended by Joe (maintenance)


Click here to find out more about the incredible festivals taking place in Edinburgh this year.