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The Fringe on the cheap
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The Fringe on the cheap
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Save the pennies with Fringe deals
The crowded and fiercely competitive world of the Fringe sets up a market for some great ticket deals, with half-price or 2-for-1 offers available right through the Festival season. Some of these deals are promoted by the Fringe box office; others are more ad-hoc, driven by the performers themselves. In any case, offers change quickly and sell fast, so you'll need to do a bit of daily research if you want to stretch your budget to the limit.

Early-bird deals

For a cost-effective Fringe, the key is to get here early. The Fringe officially starts on the first Saturday of August, but most venues offer discounted previews from the preceding Friday - and some even open up from the Wednesday.

Although there are disadvantages of going to the previews - not least that you won't have seen any reviews yet - teething problems are rare, and the visiting companies are normally well-rehearsed. The same can't always be said for the venues' staff, so allow extra time at the box office and between shows.

After the previews, the first Monday and Tuesday are given over to 2-for-1 offers on many shows. These deals are heavily promoted, but be warned that there are limited numbers of tickets on 2-for-1 and, as the Monday is a public holiday for many people in Edinburgh, the events are usually fully booked. If you're going to be in Edinburgh on these days, it's worth picking a few shows and ordering the tickets before you leave home.

The Fringe office's literalistic interpretation of the 2-for-1 concept - they simply refuse to sell an odd number of tickets - can be infuriating if your group's the wrong size; a small number of venues will sell single tickets at half price, so it's worth checking with them directly if your group doesn't divide neatly by 2.

 Trumping even the 2-for-1 offers, canny early-bird visitors can often get their hands on comps - complimentary tickets offered as a way of getting a show off to a good start.  Finding comps is a dark art, but if you have an hour to spare looking for them you should be in luck.  The best approach is to hang out where shows are flyering - and to make sure you chat to the performers you find, as many companies keep quiet about their comps until they know you have a genuine interest in their show.  Comps usually dry up around the first weekend of the Fringe, so get in early. 

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