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Which Festival?

Stack of Festival programmesWhen it's time to get tickets for the Edinburgh Festival, the first question to ask is - which Edinburgh Festival? Depending on how you count, there are up to ten separate Festivals in Edinburgh during August - each with their own ticketing arrangements and a separate box office. It's confusing at first, but if you remember a few rules of thumb you'll go easily to the right place first time.

It is true to say that the vast majority of tickets sold are for just one of the Festivals - the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. As luck would have it, though, the Fringe itself has the most complex ticketing system of all, making a wild goose chase for Fringe tickets particularly frustrating. So, unless you're absolutely sure - it's worth a quick check before you dive in.

How to find the Festival

If you've chosen the show from a programme, the answer's usually obvious - if it's a festival-wide programme the festival's name will be on the front cover, while if it's a venue-specific programme it's almost always from the Fringe. If all else fails, any programme will certainly contain a box office number, so you can simply ring and ask.

If you've been handed a leaflet in the street, you can safely assume it's a show on the Fringe unless the flyer makes it very clear otherwise. Similarly, if you've seen a preview on a stage at the Royal Mile, it's a Fringe festival show.

If you've chosen from the daily cross-Festival listings distributed across the city, you'll find an abbreviation designating the Festival in brackets next to the show's title. The most common short-hand is EFF, for Edinburgh Festival Fringe; there's a key to the others near the front of the booklet.

The one case where you may need to do some detective work is if you've chosen from a review. The reviewer may not have thought to mention which Festival the event is part of - but one thing they'll always tell you is where the show's taking place. The Edinburgh Festival Theatre, King's Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Playhouse, Usher Hall and Greyfriars Kirk are all part of the Edinburgh International Festival; Charlotte Square Gardens is the home of the Book Festival. Most other venues are part of the Fringe.

And if you're really stuck, get online and find the show on As the official listings site for all the Edinburgh festivals, it's the one place you can be sure you're going to find what you're looking for; and there are "Buy tickets" links which send you through to the appropriate web site, making it straightforward to take from there.

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