Edinburgh Festivals

  • The Midgie
  • 1 June 2009

This article is from 2009.

Edinburgh Festivals

Whatever your taste, Edinburgh has a festival to match.

Here’s our beginner’s guide:

There’s a pretty big chance you’ll already have heard of the Edinburgh Festival and if you happen to be in Edinburgh over the month of August, you sure as hell aren’t going to miss it. For a whole month the city becomes a colourful jamboree of theatre, street performance, live music, dance and visual art.

Not only is the entertainment vast and varied, the number of different legs of the festival is also pretty awesome. Read on …

Edinburgh International Festival
Founded back in 1947, in the ashes of the Second World War, the International Festival is the big daddy. From the very beginning the festival has been about inspiring people to get intimately involved in the arts. Nowadays it is alive with the best classical music, theatre, opera, dance and visual art from across the globe - with hundreds of events to choose from.
14 Aug-6 Sep, www.eif.co.uk

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This is the one that nobody can avoid, because it is literally performed at you feet. Street performers dance, sing and ham it up for your pleasure. The Fringe is open to anyone who can afford the journey, with events taking place all over the city. It is also an umbrella for the Edinburgh Comedy Festival.
7-31 Aug, www.edfringe.com

Edinburgh Art Festival
A relative new kid on the festival block, the Edinburgh Art Festival launched in 2004 to bring together the summer programmes of the city's central art galleries - from the smaller artist-run spaces to the major National Galleries. With over 130 exhibitions - and many of them free - this is a firm festival favourite.
5 Aug-5 Sep, www.edinburghartfestival.org

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Take a break from the frantic displays of amateur dramatics and find solace in a nice book. With over 800 events this is the largest festival of its kind, finally giving the written word the props it’s due. The Book Festival is a two week celebration featuring big names, debut authors, poets and leading theorists.
15-31 Aug, www.edbookfest.co.uk

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
There’s something quite regal about big shiny brass instruments and the majestic noise that flows from them. Forget ‘elevator music’ and start thinking about something with much more sax appeal. The Jazz and Blues Festival has a programme of 100 shows, from big band, ragtime and experimental jazz.
31 Jul-9 Aug, www.edinburghjazzfestival.co.uk

Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Below the watchful eye of Edinburgh Castle, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo plays out its annual display of army-related stomping and chanting. Each year, audiences flock to the castle to watch synchronised motorcycle teams, steel bands and huge firework displays. But book early, because it’s always a sell-out.
7-29 Aug, www.edintattoo.co.uk

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