Complete Guide to The Free Fringe Showlist – 2014

fringeysIt’s less than 3 weeks till the Edinburgh Fringe Festival kicks off it’s 67th annual parade of fun and madness of the city in its most frenetic and pure form.

As such, careful followers of my Twitter feed will know that my Free Fringe Showlist is up online already.  Yes folks, I popped it up, and have only just now finally gotten round to getting the instructions together.

It’s a big one this year with over 100 Free shows more than in 2013, so even more thrifty fun is available.  As usual I have left some things off the showlist.  Events and the many BBC (First come, first served) shows, have been omitted. As they’re generally filled up pretty fast.

There is also a difference between the ‘Free shows’ listed, and some which are ‘Free entry or buy a ticket to ensure a seat’.  The differences are pretty obvious, but it’s fair to keep in mind that you may struggle to get a seat in the latter if it’s overwhelmingly popular.

In any case : HERE IT IS!

As ever, it’s maybe a little complex to newcomers, so to aleviate all concerns, here is the guide:


Getting the Spreadsheet

This is the easy part.  But since the online sheet is locked (to stop people accidentally altering it) it needs to be downloaded onto your own computer.

  1. Click on the link, and go to the page.  Where you will find the guide.
  2. Go to the top left corner and click ‘File’, scroll down to ‘Download As’
  3. Depending on your software of choice, you should choose a spreadsheet package  (Excel if you have MS Office, if not then get Open Office here for free)
  4. Once it has downloaded, open the file up (assuming it hasn’t automatically) & if it’s “read only”, then change this setting to off.  In the case of MS Office, you should see a handy yellow banner with PROTECTED VIEW written on it. Simply click the ‘Enable Editing’ button on that banner.
  5. Now save it somewhere handy (I prefer my desktop)The spreadsheet has been optimised for both systems, and should work on other spreadsheet programs as well.  Maybe next year I’ll put a front end on it, and make it a website!

That’s the spreadsheet on your Computer, now you’re almost at the point where you can start deciding what to see!


Going Your Own Way

One aspect of this guide, is that it’s fairly large and cumbersome.  At this stage you might want to chop a few days off the alender, to suit your personal schedule, or time in Edinburgh.

  1. The easiest way to do that is simply to click on the Letter in the column above the dates you want to remove (which will highlight them)
  2. rightclick on the highlit area
  3. scroll down to ‘delete’ and select it

Another option is to remove show categories.  As many people only come for the Comedy, or the Theatre alone, it may be an idea to remove unnessessary categories (although I’d recommend enjoying a smattering of different styles of show, it’s far more fun!)

  1. click on the Category heading
  2. click the Data heading in the top menu bar
  3. scroll to Filter and click it ( then click autofilter if you are using Open Office)
  4. a drop-down Triange tab will have appeared beside the word Category click that to open it up
  5. Click on whatever category you want to remove
  6. You should now only have the shows in that category
  7. highlight them and delete!
  8. click data and filter/autofilter to go back to seeing everything again
  9. repeat as necessary


Planning Out Your Day

Now, you should only have the shows from categories you want, on the days you are available.  Well done!  Here’s where the fun starts and you can begin to plan out each day’s Fringe Fun.

  1. The first step should be to highlight any box on the Title Row on the guide, (which has Show Title, Length Category etc etc…)
  2. then click Data, then Filter, (then finally Autofilter in Open Office)
  3. A small downward pointing triangle should now be in the right of each cell on that top row. This is fine.
  4. If you want, then click the triangle in the Category list. Then whatever show category you wish to see that day  (e.g Comedy)
  5. You should now only see the Comedy shows,  (You can undo this by simply clicking the triangle again and Select All)

fringNow you’ve got the shows, although you may have already have sorted all this out from the earlier section.

  1. Choose a relevant Date  you wish to plan out.  (For example 4th)  and highlight that cell on the Title Row
  2. Click Data in the top right menu, then Sort
  3. The Box that pops up will let you sort by anything on the Title Row, Length Category or any date. Choose the date (For example 4th) & click OK, and smallest to Largest (or in ascending order)
  4. Now click the triangle on that Date’s cell
  5. Choose Standard Filter, which will make a new box pop up.
  6. For MS Office – scroll to the bottom of the checkboxes of times, and uncheck the box marked Blanks
  7. For Open Office – Under Field Name ensure it says your chosen date (For example 4th) and under Value, select Not Empty  – Then click OK

You now have all of the Comedy shows sorted out in order of start times for the date you have chosen. In my example the 4th.  So to follow my example the first show at the top would be Late with Kate starting at midnight (00:00) at the Canon’s Gait.  Using this, you can now easily look to when you want to start seeing shows; see what is on, where it is on, and for how long. Allowing you to work out a daily showlist.


To-ing and Fro-ing

With that all done, and at this point, hopefully, you’ve got a few shows in mind for at least a few days.
But a quick note on the shows, leave enough time between shows to move between one and another.  Edinburgh is often thought of as a large village, and the Fringe is mainly based around the city centre, so you can walk across it in 30-40 mins at a leisurely pace.  But like all great capital cities, it’s built on seven hills.  So wear good shoes!  Always factor in the distance, using Google maps or the handy one in the back of the Fringe Programme.  Generally I leave at least 20 mins between shows, but preferably you want 45 mins, just in case you need to take a rest break or grab a wee snack somewhere and chat about what you’ve seen with a friend or partner.


A Word on Etiquette

It’s also tempting to think that since a show is free, then you can chat and talk, and I hope my readers are more sensible than that! But it happens. Now in comedy shows, or some others, there is an element of audience participation. But just remember the old quote from Firefly:

“You’re going to burn in hell… in a very special level of Hell.  One they reserve for child molesters, and people who talk in the theatre.”

edinburgh-fringe-festival-201214-1345549402-view-0Everyone loves to have fun in the theatre, or in a comedy show especially. But it’s important to remember that although these are “Free” shows, or “pay what you want” shows, that these are still hard working people on the stage trying to entertain you.  As such, it’s still a good idea to drop a few pounds into the bucket or hat at the end of the show. Especially if you had a good time, and enjoyed yourself.

In that same mode, I’ve added a wee donate button at the bottom here. If you found this guide and the attached showlist helpful. I’m more than happy to receive a kind word. But I’ll also happily take the price of a pint of beer or so, if any folks are thus inclined to generosity.

Many thanks,  and have a Great Fringe in 2014!



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