Fest is, of course, a short form of its original title, Festering Hatred.

Drama undergrad kicked off your course? Write for Fest. Failed comedian? Write for Fest. Heriot Watt student who can’t go home for the holidays because your parents fucking hate you? Write for Fest.

Unlike most other publications that clutter the Fringe, Fest has made no commitment to Edinburgh, or the Fringe, or the performing arts generally, or even journalism. It simply recurs every year like tsetse fly in Tanzania, and exists purely to sell advertising space (this year at the rate of £675 for half an A5 page, per issue, £2000 for a listing, £1000 to appear as a blob on its city map). In-between the ads, it pretends to tell fringegoers something about what’s going on. Although Fest will give literally anyone a job, it does have a returning cohort of writers, most of whom write with a grandiloquent sense of entitlement. Most reviews seem to be delivered from the saddle of a very high horse in a cloud of hot piss and sneering.

The thing that most strikes you when reading Fest is how genuinely unhappy its reviewers are to be involved with the Fringe. Behind the cheery interview of whichever hot-shot they’re feting in any particular issue, the reviewers gasp and groan and complain about what a bloody grinding chore the whole thing is.

Last year the Fest brigade visited about 300 shows and gave out about 20 stars in total. Legend has it that they stuck all the left-over stars up each other’s arses at a Fringe after-party in Marchmont, causing extensive internal damage and yet another funding shortfall for Lothian NHS.

Fest is less a magazine and more a sort of family of toxic monkeys who have a get-together once a year to throw their stools around and count their money.

Edmund Rumania

Reviewers for Fest

Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell gives his readers the unusual feeling that he is trying very hard to explain what’s going on onstage, ...
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George Sully

I’m confused. George Sully is a ‘director’ of Fest, whatever that means, and has also written extensively for the Skinny ...
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Brett Mills

Brett Mills is a virtual pick ‘n’ Mix of allusions and metaphors which, like the ones we used to get ...
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Will Young

The problem with Will Young – and it’s not a terminal problem – is his apparent need to assault everything ...
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Jonathan Holmes

What is going on at Fest Towers this year? Last year their average score – AVERAGE – was 2.3 stars ...
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Victoria Nangle

When you read Victoria Nangle’s reviews you find yourself muttering ‘Get on with it’ a lot. There’s a great deal ...
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Tom Hackett

With so many Fest reviewers wanting to hunt down Fringe comedians, slaughter them in cold blood and wear their shrunken ...
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Matthew Sharpe

We all like a superfluity of grandiose verbiage. There’s no need to say “superfluity of grandiose verbiage” when I could ...
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John Stansfield

You know how preachers – of any religion – will tell you that God knows you far better than you ...
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Ed Ballard

I imagine there are scenes of panic and frustration at the Fest office. If they have an office. I imagine ...
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