Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Weirdo heaven

Tomás Ford

If you wanna find me in August, you’ll have to go to Edinburgh. Since fluking into an amazing first year in 2012, I’ve been back every year since. For a weird little guy from the isolated Australian city of Perth, along with my hometowns’ now kickass Fringe World in February, Edinburgh is one of the only places in the world where my show makes actual sense. Not that I usually care – I’ll happily put on a show anywhere. But it’s nice to have a corner of the universe where people are actually chasing my kinda fun.

Tomas Ford
Tomas Ford

Before my first fringe, I’d spent about a decade running around Australian pubs and dive bars, playing alongside punk bands, touring in the cheapest, nastiest way possible and spending a lot of energy on staying out of fights with drunks in the audience. It was great but Australia is so spread out and tricky to work in that it wasn’t working. I decided to make a break for it and crowdfunded a free festival season at the long-lost New Town goth dive, The Jekyll And Hyde.

The Fringe instantly felt like home – there were so many other people doing weird stuff! Lots of conventional stand-up comedy too, but it turned out I had more in common with them than I thought. People seemed drawn to the late night electronic punk cabaret I was doing, and after years of enjoying being a square peg in a round hole, it was amazing to be so welcomed somewhere.

Since then, I’ve toured festivals (and, yes, sh*tty pubs – I still like those) all over the world. I’ve run fringe venues and arts programmes, toured artists from around the world in Australia and collaborated with performers from all kinds of places. Not all of these opportunities came directly from Edinburgh Fringe, but surviving this festival gave me confidence in my own awesomeness that I take with me on my other adventures.

So superhooray for World Fringe Day. It seems weird that I am as amped for this coming year as I was for my first fringe, but for me, it doesn’t get better than this. Bring on August! I’m gonna see so many shows! I’m gonna see my friends from all over the world! I’m gonna see some Scotland! I’m gonna get to play my stupid shows every day! Agh! Happy World Fringe Day!

Header photo: David Monteith-Hodge

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