Harriot Lane Fox’s Ultimate Thrival Guide.

‘Survival’ is what most guides to most shows and festivals aim for. They warn visitors to gird their loins (or at least their feet, with orthopaedic shoes), pack up their sarnies in their old kit bags (to dodge pricey food stalls), and keep upper lips stiffer than, well, a very stiff thing.

A pox on that! The Chelsea Fringe really is different (have we mentioned that before?). This festival is too full of joy and delight to talk about surviving. The people taking part, whether gardeners, experts in something fascinating, artists or performers, are thrilled to be sharing their passions. All visitors have to do is design their perfect day…and dive in.

So, presuming you already know all you need to about pac-a-macs and not drinking too much beer before lunchtime, here is our Thrival Guide to Chelsea Fringe 2018.

  1. Our website is mobile-friendly but why not have a look and download our map here the night before so you can make your journey count. You can print it out too, remembering that lots more events have signed up since we put it together. You can compost or recycle the map afterwards.
  2. We’re green and eco and love public transport. Boris Bikes – the actual thing and the app (aka Santander Cycles) – are terribly easy to use; Citymapper will help plan your journey on London Transport; there’s also Tuber – which we like for obvious reasons (dahlias, potatoes, you get the picture) – has a great visual representation of the fastest route between two stops on anything TFL-ish except buses.
  3. Kids? Take lots of them – but pick out the events that sound the most fun and participative. We want to programme the next generation of gardeners not alienate them completely!
  4. Have a damned good breakfast so that you don’t have to lug a picnic around (unless you want to, of course). Popeye swore by, and probably at, spinach. So why not whizz up a glorious green semi-seasonal smoothie: one banana, big handful of spinach, a blob of nut butter and enough of whatever milk you like best to make it drinkable. Keep it seasonal with a bowl of rhubarb porridge too.
  5. Pack light: a couple of spare carrier bags in case you spot any juicy plants to buy; spare mobile battery, so that your phone doesn’t conk out on you halfway through the day; small change to spend at our community gardens (you will need plastic at our posh galleries, obvs); a notebook.
  6. Our festival is designed to get visitors doing stuff. What do they call it these days? Immersive! So be prepared to do and learn stuff. Ask questions, get horticultural tips – and share yours too. But only pull weeds if you’re ABSOLUTELY SURE those leaves are not something rather more special.
  7. Do you love what our event organisers are doing? Then don’t be British (soz for the national stereotyping!) – tell them! Just like the Chelsea Fringe, they’re generally volunteers or certainly underpaid, work on very low budgets and often garden against the odds. If you see a donation pot, don’t feel forced to give – but whatever you give will help them to keep on going.
  8. Tell other people how much you love the Fringe too. You can always ask if an event uses social media and tag them in your pictures. Tag us too – lots! We love sharing top tips and must-sees, funny moments, glorious gorgeous full-colour fringey-ness. It all helps to spread the love. Two things, though: ask before you move a plant label to get it into shot; and no pics of kids without their parents’ permission.

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