Edinburgh Festival: Fun & Freelancing


If you don’t live in Edinburgh or the UK, you might not be aware of the scale of the ‘Edinburgh Festival’ which is considered the biggest annual cultural event in the world.

August’s festivities are in fact made up of a number of different (and completely separate) events, including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (which on its own is the biggest arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Arts Festival, TV festival, Turing Fest (about technology) – you get the picture.

REAL LIFE and how to live it in Auld Reekie - interesting billboard by Ross Sinclair for the Art Festival
REAL LIFE and how to live it in Auld Reekie – interesting billboard by Ross Sinclair for the Art Festival

Working as a Freelancer During the Edinburgh Festival

This month (as I mentioned on the latest Mountain Shores podcast), I’ve been working for the Scotsman/WOW247’s festival website, going into their office at Holyrood every morning and then getting my other client work done in the afternoons/evenings.


I’ve really been enjoying the balance of structure/freedom that working half-days has given me, and I’ve ended up in a café most afternoons as I seem to be more productive there than I am at home (maybe it’s because I feel I have to have something to show for that expensive coffee).

It’s also been good to soak in the atmosphere in the city centre, with lots of pop-up bars and restaurants being created to cater for the extra crowds.

Gorilla show

Too Much Choice!

Being involved in the site, I’m always amazed by just how many shows are on during August – this rundown of all Scotsman reviews by star rating gives you an idea. Okay, so a lot of them are awful, but even so it can be a full-time job just working out what to see (which is why I wrote a guide to 24 hours at the Fringe to help people narrow it down).

It’s also been interested being involved in the festival blog as performers have been sharing their stories about their shows and their time in Edinburgh.


All Good Things Must Come to an End

This is the last weekend of the Fringe and Book fests, although some other festival events will be continuing during next week.

Despite getting a Blogger’s pass to the Fringe, I’ve been focused on getting all of my work done, so haven’t had much chance to see shows, but last night we went to see Circa Wunderkammer and Whatever Gets You Through the Night, both of which were excellent and still have tickets left (but were both very busy, so I’d be quick!).

The latter show involves many great Scottish musicians, writers and actors and was really well done. Here’s the story of how it came about from one of the musicians involved, and you can hear/buy the soundtrack over at bandcamp.

Local music/culture often gets drowned out by the higher profile festival shows but has in fact had a good presence this August thanks to some hardworking local promoters such as Matthew Young from Song, By Toad (who writes about the Pale Imitation Festival here).

Tonight my pal The Pictish Trail plays as part of Haddowfest. I interviewed him for the festival site about the gig and his new label Lost Map Records.

Oh, and I almost forgot – I co-hosted one of three Live From the Latin Quarter festival specials, a radio show about Scottish music with some nonsense chat in between, about which one listener kindly said “The first twenty minutes sounded like a train wreck!” (more info).


The Book Festival also has a series of events for comic book/graphic novel fans called Stripped – here’s a rundown of what’s on this weekend from one of the event’s bloggers.

Unfortunately, it’s just not been possible to get to half of what I would have liked to, but hey – maybe next year I’ll be more organised. The main thing is, even though I’ve been working hard, I’ve enjoyed August very much.

Oh, and if you don’t live in Edinburgh and fancy coming next August, remember to book accommodation well in advance!

Ice cream couple Edinburgh

Words and photos copyright Milo McLaughlin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s