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Things I learnt at my first Brighton Fringe

Last weekend I headed to the Brighton Fringe for the very first time, getting the train from Kent to East Sussex for 24 hours of festival fun. For the last two years I have visited the Edinburgh Fringe during August and absolutely adored the experience, so in 2024 I was keen to experience another UK Fringe Festival. Reviewing 4 shows across 2 days, it was a very short trip to Brighton, but even so I managed to pick up a few pointers and tips during my time in East Sussex. With the Fringe ending today, hopefully sharing the things I learnt at my first Brighton Fringe festival will be helpful for anyone considering a future trip, especially if you are not local like myself and need to book accommodation.

Brighton beach during the Brighton Fringe

Performers usually only cover a handful of dates.

When planning our schedule, I quickly realised that Brighton shows usually only run for a few days. This means that you need to look at the festival programme before selecting the dates to visit and consequently you don’t have a choice of the whole schedule. That being said, there are lots of shows to watch on the weekends, so if you are planning to visit for a few days, you should easily be able to find a weekend with lots of exciting events.

Brighton Fringe bunting at The Caxton Arms venue

The Fringe is commutable from nearby towns in East and West Sussex.

It is expensive to stay in Brighton, but anywhere along the train line between Gatwick Airport and Brighton is convenient to commute from. My Mum and I stayed in Haywards Heath for a night and despite worrying that this would be a little inconvenient, there were so many trains bound for Brighton, that it felt like we were only staying down the road. If you can find a more affordable hotel on the train line, I’d totally recommend staying out of town for your visit.

Brighton Fringe outside The Caxton Arms pub

Make sure you leave time to travel between venues.

This might sound like an obvious one, but on a warm weekend, the city is full of Fringe spectators and tourists visiting the seaside for the day. Venues are spread all around the town centre and moving between them can take quite a bit of time, given the sheer number of people around. I recommend leaving gaps in your schedule and allowing plenty of time to get from one location to another.

The Lantern Theatre's Brighton Fringe schedule

It is helpful to have an offline record of your Fringe tickets and locations.

It might have just been the network provider that I am with, but I really struggled with data connection in Brighton. Google Maps was a little hit and miss, so I found myself trying to connect to WiFi networks to access our tickets and find the different Fringe venues. I’d thoroughly recommend screenshotting your QR codes and putting together an offline list of the venue addresses before you go. This will make your life so much easier if you do end up struggling with connection in the city.

Fool's Paradise venue at Brighton Fringe

Ticket prices are sometimes listed as ‘PWYW’ (Pay What You Want).

Lots of acts provide a minimum ticket price for their shows, then you as a member of the audience can choose to pay what you want. I think this is a brilliant concept, as it keeps the baseline price affordable, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to pay more, you can.

Fool's Paradise Brighton Fringe posters

The Brighton Fringe website is the best place to find out about shows.

During the 24 hours that we visited Brighton, I didn’t see any performers around the town centre with flyers. Venues had promotional leaflets and there were some posters up around town, but the chance of us just stumbling across a show and gaining insight from a performer themselves felt very unlikely. Your best source of information is the Brighton Fringe website with the full schedule and availability. However, there is nothing to say that you can’t turn up to a venue before a performance and see if you can buy tickets on the day. I saw a few spontaneous walk ups, which is brilliant as it helps keep the venues full and means that last minute ticket purchases are definitely possible.

Kat Masterson next to Brighton Fringe banners at Fool's Paradise

Looking to the future

I had a brilliant time covering my first Brighton Fringe, watching shows that span genres such as new musicals, music, comedy and dance. I look forward to possibly visiting Brighton across a couple of weekends in the future, in order to see a greater variety of acts. If you are interested in reading my Brighton Fringe reviews, I have a page dedicated to articles from the Sussex festival. It’s a great opportunity to see some new writing and Fringe theatre outside of London.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

Love Kat xxxx



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