Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Edinburgh is the largest arts festival in the world. It runs in the final three weeks of August in parallel, which can be broadly separated into three categories: the Arts festival, the Fringe festival, and the Free festival(s). The Arts festival does not concern us here.
The Fringe festival consists of hundreds of venues of varying levels of quality, but including venues of 'good theatre' quality, with lighting and sound desks and raked seating. These venues might cost $800-$1600 per week to rent (assuming one hour's performance per day) in 2015 prices; venues will typically have shows running from 9AM until late at night.
The Free festival(s) do not charge acts for their stages (or charge very little in comparison to the paid venues), but have correspondingly poorer technical specifications. These venues are typically in drinking establishments and are provided on the understanding that audiences will purchase drinks.
The overweening majority of improv shows at Edinburgh perform at the Free festival(s); exceptions include Showstoppers!: The Improvised Musical and other well-established and successful troupes. There are several free festivals. The oldest is PBH's Free Fringe, and the second-oldest is Laughing Horse Free Festival. Performers may only apply to one of these two festivals.
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