08/01/2012 06:36 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2012

Packing for the Edinburgh Festival -- A Guide

I don't want to brag, but I am incredible at packing suitcases. "But Monica," you are saying aloud to no one in particular, "that's not bragging. In no way is packing a suitcase a marketable or even covetable skill! My mum is also quite good at packing suitcases. Do you just roll all your clothing articles?" To which I say, yes, Reader/Smartypants, yes I do, it is a great trick and it lets you pack loads more than you could otherwise fit in any bag.You may rain on my pride parade, but like London's lower-budget iteration this year, I will just move it to a smaller location and cancel the floats. I'm still proud of myself, and I still think I have some helpful things to share with audience members, or, gulp, reviewers and critics who will be headed to Edinburgh this August for the controlled chaos that is the Festival Fringe. To this end, I present:


The all-caps are how you know it is serious business. Or a tweet from Kanye West, generally, but this is the former. Allons-y.

Waterproof your everything.

Sure, you've brought wellington boots, and a rain coat, and one of those big fishermen hats. But what about your trousers and shirts? Local fetish shops have lots of full-rubber options for men and women, which will come in handy when it rains literally the entire time you are there. Bonus points for investing in a full-body condom to ward off rain and STIs in one fell swoop.

Speaking of...

You will be at a festival surrounded by artist stereotypes, including but not limited to: Attention-Seeking Cads, Free-Love Hippies, Famous People who are DTF, and Girls in Musicals Who Literally Only Ever See Gay Men But Also Because of This Are Quite Comfortable Getting Down to Their Underwear in Crowded Rooms. Pack some other rubbers in with your boots. Just kidding, all the aforementioned types are sharing a two bedroom apartment and are sleeping with each other. Better luck next time.

The food can really be quite good...

... so make sure to pack your APPETITE! (Ladies and Gentlemen have required me to promise that the jokes in our show are better than this.)

Blend in with the crowds

To look like you're up for the long haul and not just a weekend visit to see a few shows, drink all the cider, and gaze at Arthur's Seat while reflecting passively on the sense of achievement that might come to those who actually climb it, pack a few loud outfits. This will look like you are on your way to or from a show of your very own. Mess up your hair and rub dirt on your face and tell people you are out of flyers, but are running a guerilla street production of Oliver!. This will also help you navigate the Mile in under 20 minutes, not an easy feat for the average weekend punter. If someone tries to shove unwanted flyers in your face, point to your aggressive clothing and then do a Performance Art on them (this can be screaming, jumping, singing, live-action collage... use your imagination). They will realize you are but another performer and not going to pay £10 to see their play about menstruation.

Jump up, Jump up, Jumper-ound

The London service to Edinburgh Haymarket should really be called the Jumper Express, and you are its new conductor. Don't try to pack summer clothing. Forget that summer ever existed (not too hard after this year, I'd imagine), and pretend like it will be October when you arrive. Wooly knits and warm tights and scarves and things should all be going into your luggage. Instead of shivering on the platform with the sad, uninformed tourists in their T-shirts, you will be choo-chooing towards Warmth with stops at Argyle, Poncho, and Capelet.

You're going to ruin all your shoes.

This is a serious one. Before you head up to Ed, take stock of your footwear and select which poor, unfortunate soles you will be sacrificing to the Moist Cobblestone Gods this year. Say a quiet footwear eulogy, and thank them for giving up their lives so that you may have only slightly dampened toes at all times. Tragedies like this happen every year, and there is nothing we can do to stop the cycle of orthopedic violence enacted by performers on helpless plimsolls each August. Also, don't be an idiot and pack plimsolls, canvas shoes are a nightmare in Scottish weather.

Roll all your clothes instead of folding them.

I'm telling you, it's a very good tip.

Well, best of luck baggage-buddies! If I see any of you out doing live-action collage, I am still going to flyer you.

Monica Heisey is 1/4 of comedy sketch group Ladies & Gentlemen, performing daily at The Counting House, 15:30 with the Free Fringe. You can follow her on twitter@monicaheisey or @LGcomedy.