Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 — Good Idea? Bad Idea?

This year I’ve decided that not only will I do a show in the Camden Fringe 2014, I will go a step further and try to get onto the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 too.

I’ve heard many stories of people going to the Edinburgh Fringe and leaving with huge piles of debt! Why the hell would anyone want to go and work for 4 weeks and walk away with a massive debt on their shoulders!

In John Bishop’s Autobiography he points out ‘Lessons I Learnt about Edinburgh for all potential performers’:

  1. You will lose money
  2. Your heart will be broken
  3. Being good in clubs does not guarantee success in Edinburgh
  4. You will get better and by the end you will be brilliant
  5. You will love it. Being a comedian is like being a Goth

This losing of cash is also mentioned in other comedian’s books and blogs, pointing out that a debt of £10 – 15k was standard and it was only the big boys and the little boys who made any money. Christ, what does this mean? And who the hell are the little boys?

Turns out, there is a Edinburgh Free Fringe running alongside which offers all gigs for free. So the options are either: lose a lot of money, or do it for free.

Is it just me or has the whole world gone mad? These are both terrible options right? Surely there must be better odds than this. After chatting to a few people it appears that it’s the opportunities the Ed Fringe could open up that are the real reason people perform, and losing huge quantities of money is the price they are happy to pay!

But something someone mentioned struck a cord with me:

If your gig was one of the best in the Ed Free Fringe, then you would stand out, and get noticed.”

Now I was interested. That would be something of real value to gain from the Ed Fringe experience. Big fish in little pond. Although, to be honest I felt more like a rather small fish in an oversized pond where everyone else was on steroids.

I’d heard from my trusted chum and comedy adviser Susan Husband (one of my new friends I met on the Comedy course I had just done, remember) that the best angle would be to contact ‘Just the Tonic’ to get the ball rolling.

And with that I’m off to email Darrell Martin who is the organiser at the Just the Tonic head quarters.


Dan Tambling is a stand-up comedian, sketch comedy writer, actor and producer of ‘12 sketches in a London house’. This is his blog.


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