Digital Tools for a Smooth Festival Ride

How did people figure out the festivals in the old days? Who knows. Now we have smartphones. Here's what you need to get you through August with the maximum amount of free time for beer

Feature by Márcio Florindo | 30 Jul 2014
  • Digital tools for a smooth festival ride

In the olden times of, say, 2009, people had to navigate festival-mad Edinburgh by looking at maps, asking strangers for help, and lugging around brochures to figure out the listings. Good thing we’re civilised now. Here’s what your trusty smartphone needs to save you from sliding back into the dark ages.

1) Edinburgh Festivals

Fear not. Although the official Edinburgh Festivals page doesn’t have an app, the website is mobile-friendly, making navigation on a phone a dream. It has a handy calendar listing all the festivities happening until the end of the year, as well as news, links to other festival sites, and plenty of useful tips on how to plan a visit to the city. It’s a solid place to start but, let’s face it, it doesn’t exactly have bells on.

2) Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The official Fringe app, available for Android and iOS, comes with everything you’d imagine it needs: you can buy tickets, search for shows, or locate the nearest events. Also handy is the ability to save the shows you want to see into the My Planner feature. The app is free, so you can spend your hard-earned cash on more comedy and wine. However, the Android version crashed on us a couple of times, so with the instability, you might want to keep the mobile-friendly site bookmarked as backup. It's not as complete, but at least it works perfectly.  

3) Gigglemaps

Is your phone a bit of a dinosaur? Gigglemaps is just what you need to search for events. The website is super light and fast, has a sleek search function, gives short briefings on the shows, and displays the most important stuff like addresses and timetables. You can use the map to see were the events are happening, avoiding the need to do more than stumble round the block to the next great performance.

4) Edinburgh Festival Rooms

Hotel beyond your budget? Scared of the nasties in the hostel showers? Private rooms can be cheaper, easier, and nicer to stay in. Edinburgh Festival Rooms makes it easy for you to find the perfect accommodation: choose an area of your liking and the dates you'll be in Edinburgh, and you can refine your search by property type or number of bedrooms. For the hippier types, there's also the free alternative of CouchSurfing, but you might get a sweaty Edinbugger on your own couch in the future.

5) Edinburgh Travel Guide Triposo

This travel guide, free on Android and iOS, comes in handy if you’re hoping to take a look around the city outside the venues. The app will guide you around things to do and places to see, let you read up on local monuments, and give you info on everything from contact details to ticket prices. Best of all, everything functions off-line, including the maps. 

6) Transport for Edinburgh

There are a few options for getting around on public transport, and none of them are perfect, so having a few downloaded and ready to go can be a good plan. Transport for Edinburgh is free on iOS and Android  and includes live info on both buses and trams. It also links to the infamously unstable but still oh-so-useful M-Tickets app, which allows you to pay for tickets with your phone and never again be stranded for want of £1.50. My Bus Edinburgh and Edinburgh Bus Tracker are much more stable, both with simple interfaces allowing you to see exactly when your bus will deign to arrive. You can't get address-to-address directions, so you might need to add Google Maps into the mix to give your phone's RAM a bit of a workout.