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Royal Mile street performance

Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for several simultaneous arts and cultural festivals that take place during August each year in Edinburgh, Scotland. These festivals are arranged by a number of formally unrelated organizations, meaning there is no single event officially termed the Edinburgh Festival.



The Edinburgh Festival, which is the largest cultural event in the world, traces its roots to 1947 when the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) was established in a post-war effort to "provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit".[1] That same year, eight theatrical companies "gatecrashed" the official Festival by organizing their own event, outside the official auspices of the EIF; this started the movement which grew into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (EFF). The EFF is also referred to as the Edinburgh Fringe, the Fringe, or (incorrectly) the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.[2]

The EIF and the Fringe remain independent bodies and run separate programmes each year. Since the Edinburgh International Festival was organized in 1947, several other festivals have also been established in Edinburgh. Most of these take place in late summer each year, as well. There is, therefore, not one Edinburgh Festival, but a collection of independent festivals which happen to take place in the same city at about the same time.

Edinburgh summer festivals

The Pleasance Venue

The Edinburgh summer festivals, in order of the year of their foundation, are as follows. An asterisk indicates that the festival is a member of Festivals Edinburgh, the umbrella body which represents the Edinburgh festivals to government.

The following festival also occurs in Edinburgh during August, but is essentially an industry gathering - it does not offer events open to the public.

Year-round festivals

Although the phrase "Edinburgh Festival" is generally taken to refer to the August events, a number of other festivals are held in the city around the year. These include, in calendar order:

  • Ceilidh Culture — held annually in March and April [1]
  • Edinburgh International Harp Festival — held annually in March/April [2]
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival — held annually in April [3]
  • OneEighty — the Science Festival 'fringe' (began 2006)
  • Edinburgh Easter Festival — held annually [4]
  • Beltane Fire Festival — held annually on the 30th April [5]
  • Dark City Festival — a goth music festival, held annually in May [6]
  • Children's International Theatre Festival — held annually in late May [7]
  • Edinburgh World Justice Festival — held annually during the last two weeks of June [8]
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival — held annually in June (from 2008; formerly held in August)
  • Meadows Festival — usually held in June. (Returned in 2008 after a 3-year absence)[7]
  • Leith Festival — held annually in June [9]
  • Scottish International Storytelling Festival — held annually in October and November [10]
  • Edinburgh's Capital Christmas [11]
  • The exceptionally large Hogmanay celebrations [12]


  1. ^ History of the Festival
  2. ^ Edinburgh Festival Fringe website
  3. ^ Fringe Facts. edfringe: Official site of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2005. Accessed June 26 2005.
  4. ^ Moving times at EIFF
  5. ^ Edinburgh Book Fringe
  6. ^ Islam Festival 2007
  7. ^ The Meadows Festival is back Edinburgh Evening News 6 June 2008

External links

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