YOU cannot lose a homing pigeon. If your homing pigeon doesn’t come back, then what you’ve lost is a pigeon. That joke, by Sara Pascoe, was adjudged to be one of the funniest gags at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
It faced strong competition from one of the funniest men: Tim Vine, who had two jokes listed in The Daily Telegraph’s top 30 jokes, including this gem: I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger eating a chocolate egg. I said: "I bet I know what your favourite Christian festival is." He said: "You have to love Easter, baby."
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is officially ranked as the largest arts festival in the world. Last year, there were 49,497 performances of 3193 shows in 299 venues all over the city. One solution to finding your way around is to download the official Edinburgh Festival Fringe app which is available free for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android.
The app has full details of all the acts and performances, and allows you to bring up listings in alphabetical order, in order of venue, and even by proximity. It also has a full search facility; so you can look up artist, title, or genre.
As all the details are contained within the app, you can access it without an internet connection, but if you are connected you can use the app to buy festival tickets.
A similar facility is available on the BBC Proms app, which has a clean look and feel but is let down by the ticketing link, which takes you to an external website rather than being contained within the app. Priced at £2.99, the app is available for iOS and Android devices, and contains information on all the different Prom concerts, and when they will be broadcast on radio, TV, and online.
For those concerts that have already happened, the app includes links to watch or listen to the concerts on BBC iPlayer. But, like the link to ticket sales, these links open up content in an external web browser. It would have been a neater app if the ticket sales and content playback happened in-app.
Event apps are not the preserve of the largest festivals, but extend also to smaller events such as Greenbelt. As I write, the Greenbelt 2015 app has not been launched; last year’s app was launched just a few days before the festival, however, and was available on both iOS and Android. The app is relaunched each year, and, as you would expect, is updated with the current year’s line-up.
This year’s festival, which takes place between 28 and 31 August at Broughton House, near Kettering, Northants, might not be as big as the Edinburgh Festival; but, with its comprehensive and eclectic programme split into the strands of Music, Performing Arts, Talks and Ideas, Comedy, and Literature and Spoken Word, it is easy to miss items that you might want to see.
If this year’s app is like last year’s, you will have a useful guide to what’s on — and who’s on, and where they are on — that has a chance of surviving the usual Greenbelt weather a little longer than the printed programme.