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Festivals in Edinburgh

Twelve festivals over twelve months means thousands of designated festival events in Edinburgh, attracting artists, audiences and media from every continent and over 70 countries. Below are just a few of Edinburgh’s best annual events

Scottish International Storytelling Festival, October 

For centuries live oral storytelling, blended with music and song, has carried Scotland’s voices from generation to generation -and round the world. The Storytelling Festival is a ten-day celebration of traditional and contemporary storytelling, oral traditions and cultural diversity, bringing together artists and audiences from Scotland and beyond.

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Edinburgh’s Christmas is a spectacular, six-week season of festive entertainment in the heart of the city. With the German Market and Winter Wonderland taking over Princes Street Gardens, and open air ice skating in St Andrew Square, there’s no more magical place to be than Edinburgh to celebrate the festive season.

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Edinburgh Marathon Festival, May

The Edinburgh Marathon is officially on the map as one of the leading road races in the world, and the annual Edinburgh Marathon Festival is a focal point in the running calendar, bringing events and races for people of all ages and abilities to get involved and challenge themselves.

Edinburgh International Science Festival, April

Europe’s biggest celebration of science returns to Edinburgh in April 2019 – the two-week festival gives audiences amazing experiences through a diverse programme of innovative events. In honour of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, the 2019 Festival theme is Frontiers, exploring the boundaries of knowledge and the spirit of adventure and enquiry that drives science, technology, engineering and maths. Within this theme, specific areas of focus will include
Healthcare Frontiers, Engineering Frontiers, Digital Frontiers, Environmental Frontiers and Planetary Frontiers.

The Imaginate Festival, June

Ideal for family audiences, The Imaginate Festival brings local and international performers together to present a wonderful programme of fun-filled, free shows for children and young people. Now the UK’s largest festival of performing arts for this age group, it will kick off in Edinburgh before touring the rest of Scotland.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival, June

Intimate in its scale, ambitious in its scope, and fuelled by pure passion for cinema in all its manifestations, EIFF seeks to spotlight the most exciting and innovative new film talent, in a setting steeped in history. Showcasing the best in international film and documentary genres, past premieres have included Dr Zhivago, Taxi Driver, Manhattan, Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction, ET: The Extra Terrestrial, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Oscar triumph The Hurt Locker.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, July

Edinburgh Jazz Festival was set up in 1978 by banjo-player and guitarist, Mike Hart with an initial focus on traditional jazz and a host of events taking place in pubs. The artistic policy has always been to concentrate on musical excellence and to champion spontaneous creativity: music making on the spot in Edinburgh. Today, the festival presents some of the very best musical talent from across the globe.

Edinburgh Art Festival, July

More than 40 museums, galleries and pop-up spaces come together in August to programme the Edinburgh Art Festival, with free entry to most exhibitions. It presents the best, most exciting and intriguing work in visual arts practice.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August

The one and only. An explosion of theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, music, children’s shows, exhibitions, musicals, and street performers brings over 2,500 shows to over 250 venues in Edinburgh. Expect the unexpected – all performers are welcome, with acts ranging from the experimental to new material from household names.

Edinburgh International Festival, August

Inaugurated in 1947 as a celebration of peace through the arts, the Edinburgh International Festival showcases the very best and most prestigious international companies. Featuring opera, music, theatre and dance from around the world, the International Festival is one of the most accessible events of its league

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, August

The Tattoo is an iconic Edinburgh institution, and a sellout year after year after year. Music, dance and precision display with the Massed Pipes and Drums, the Massed Military Bands, cultural troupes, singers and the poignant refrain of the Lone Piper against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh International Book Festival, August

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the largest public celebration of ideas and the written word in the world. Over 900 participants from 47 different countries are welcomed to the elegant surroundings of Charlotte Square Gardens in the historic heart of Edinburgh, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. More than 220,000 people come to the gardens to soak up the atmosphere, take part in creative workshops and attend meet-the-author events.

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