The Edinburgh Fringe is unique. Uniquely big as well as uniquely varied, and therefore uniquely competitive.
52 weeks in a year minus 3 weeks of the Fringe = Edinburgh49
Edinburgh49 is a collaboration between Edinburgh-based writers from some of the most respected Fringe Theatre review titles. Their insights combine detailed local knowledge with a comprehensive Fringe overview.
49 Things You Should Know About The Fringe will help you get the most out of your experience this August. In Part One we examined how shows get noticed and what to do when you are. In Part 2 we meet the various media titles whose reviewers you’ll be courting.
THE ONE EVENT YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO MISS
- ‘Meet the Media’ is organised by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. It’s an event unlike any other where you can spend face-to-face time with media representatives from the various titles. Remember to bring hard copies of your marketing materials and be prepared to queue! Meet the Media 2014: Aug 3: 14:00 (4h): Fringe Central: Free & Non-ticketed.
PULL-OUT QUOTES & STAR RATINGS
- The use, usefulness and misuse of star ratings remains a hot discussion topic among producers and pundits. Are stars the best shorthand for what a reviewer thinks, or do they obscure the overall impression? Is a three star show worth seeing? If not why not? Are some titles offering too many stars for too little? How do 5 stars for stand-up equate to 5 stars in traditional theatre?
- Include pull-quotes from each review to sit alongside the star rating. Pick quotes that express some insight into your work, rather than just selecting the most favorable single adjectives. If you’re not confident in the number of stars, just include a pull-quote.
- Pull-quotes make for reliable daily Twitter content. You should try and draw multiple quotes from one review (so long as you properly reference each).
- When tweeting pull-quotes, include the reviewer’s & title’s account to encourage retweets.
TRADITIONAL PRINT MEDIA
- Don’t rely too much on the traditional print and broadcast outlets. Budgets are like tyres, if you slash them you won’t get far. The big titles have fewer resources to cover the Fringe than ever. If you concentrate exclusively on household-name brands you may find you end up with no coverage at all.
- Not all reviewers are the same. Some are experienced arts writers with production pedigrees of their own, while others are enthusiastic amateurs starting out their careers through practical training schemes. Some are writing for highly commercial operations, others are taking time out from their paid engagements to pursue their passion for the arts.
- A good review from The Scotsman remains the most valued endorsement at the Fringe. But with its last reported daily circulation figures dipping below 30,000, you will still need to make a lot of noise in your own marketing to feel the full benefit.
- The Herald is dangerously easy to overlook; it’s The Scotsman’s big local rival and an increasingly important voice at the Fringe. Their highly prestigious awards, Herald Angels, are almost unique in the fact that absolutely any show is eligible to win one – but you’re only in with a chance if you manage to get one of their reviewers in.
- The Edinburgh Evening News is from the same stable as The Scotsman, but it’s editorially independent. It has a quite different readership too, so it’s well worth approaching both. Controversially, they rate out of 7 stars rather than the conventional 5.
- Don’t discount the free paper Metro – it has relatively extensive Fringe coverage and a large circulation. A good review in Metro isn’t (yet) a badge of pride, but we’ve heard anecdotally that it does great things for ticket sales.
- UK national newspapers also have a presence in Edinburgh, though they’re not the force they once were. If you manage to get coverage, enjoy your good fortune. The Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail are among the most visible, while a review in the Financial Times is one of the most prestigious.
- Founded in 2002, Fest Magazine has grown to produce 125,000 free copies in six issues during the Fringe. Published every Tuesday and Friday, including a July preview guide. Fest’s online archive is impressively comprehensive but rather old skool to navigate. Fest is notoriously (and proudly) stingy with its star ratings.
- The Festival Media Network strives to improve the coverage of arts festivals and promote collaboration between member media. FMN’s members are Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Nights, Fringe Guru, FringeReview, Hairline and ThreeWeeks.
- All Edinburgh Theatre is run by Thom Dibdin, freelance journalist and Scotland Correspondent of The Stage newspaper. The website started out as the Annals of the Edinburgh Stage in 2009, before transforming into All Edinburgh Theatre in 2013.
- Broadway Baby has existed since 1996 when it launched as a free resource for actors to publish their CVs. In 2004 publisher Pete Shaw started adding reviews, since when Broadway Baby has become a major new force with over 6,000 reviews published of work staged at Edinburgh, Brighton, New York and London. As well as sourcing articulate and lively writers Broadway Baby copy edits everything that it publishes and boasts cutting-edge behind the scenes IT wizardry.
- Edinburgh49 DOES NOT OPERATE DURING THE FRINGE but our writers do. We’ll be back in September committed to supporting punters and producers through the other 49 weeks of the city’s arts calendar.
- Edinburgh Nights is a weekly show for Scotland’s Capital City promoting shows, events, and music that will be taking place that weekend across Edinburgh. Rooted in the Fringe the show is available online and as a podcast. Edinburgh Nights is produced and hosted by the BAFTA nominated broadcaster, and occasional Edinburgh49er, Ewan Spence.
- Fringe Guru, co-founded by Edinburgh49er Richard Stamp, aims for selective quality coverage, in preference to ‘completism’ or rapid growth. Fringe Guru is about trust over size. In contrast to most independent media, Fringe Guru’s reviewers are generally professional writers rather than active arts practitioners.
- FringeReview, covers Fringe Festivals from Adelaide to Edinburgh and is edited in August by Edinburgh49er Dan Lentell. A passion-project by founder Paul Levy, FringeReview seeks out innovation, challenge, competence and creativity putting an emphasis on supporting producers with peer-review style insight. Billed as ‘The Good Fringe Guide’ FringeReview does not offer star ratings, or publish reviews falling below minimum standards.
- ThreeWeeks is the longest established magazine at the Edinburgh Festival. The stable includes not only a free weekly magazine but also a daily update, website and podcast with coverage of all that goes on in Edinburgh during August, including the International, Book, Art and Politics festivals as well as the Fringe. Since 1996 ThreeWeeks has run a media-skills training programme, providing formal on-the-ground arts journalism training to hundreds of young writers.