Updated: Aug 30
Festivals are a great reason to travel. They bring together people from all over the world to celebrate, experience, and participate in things they love. Somethings its books, or theatre, or cars, or knitting/crocheting.
Edinburgh, in August, turns in the city of festivals! And what a perfect background for it.
From the medieval Old Town to the Georgian New Town, Edinburgh even has an extinct volcano - home to Edinburgh Castle. These festivals are an astonishing showcase of arts and culture from around the world that transforms the Scottish capital into something otherworldly. So what are they? Read on to find out.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the single greatest celeb ration of arts and culture on the planet. For three weeks in August, the city welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe. Artists and performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.
Its story dates back to 1947, when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival. Year on year more and more performers followed their example and in 1958 the Festival Fringe Society was created in response to the success of this growing trend. Its constitution was written in line with the ethos that brought these theatre companies to Edinburgh back in 1947; that: the Society was to take no part in vetting the festival’s programme. To this day that policy remains at the core of our festival and we’re proud to include in our programme anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them.
The Fringe is also a hotspot for creative producers and the media attracted by the Fringe's legendary reputation for helping major stars get their first big break. One you may know of is the musical Six.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival is a distinctive international showcase celebrating the written word, literature and ideas. It brings leading and emerging international, British and Scottish authors and thinkers together to inspire each other and audiences in an extensive programme of public events.
Discussion, performance and interactive events have become prominent features of the Festival, complementing the more traditional interview-style conversations and readings, and contributing to the Book Festival’s reputation as a powerful forum for the public to exchange views with writers and experts on a wide range of issues: social, ethical and political as well as literary and cultural.
What makes it special?
Discover new writers and meet your favourite authors at creative writing workshops, book signings and author talks. At the Edinburgh International Book Festival you’ll have the opportunity to take part in provoking debates and intriguing discussions with like-minded book lovers!
The Book Festival takes place at the University's Edinburgh College of Art where it creates its amazing village atmosphere, which anyone can access for free, complete with outdoor screen to relay live events to a captive audience
There is an independent bookshop at the Book Festival stocking a wide range of titles for adults and children, including some exclusive to the Festival. Browse at your leisure and find something stimulating to read.
The Edinburgh Castle Esplanade is the spectacular home of the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
The Tattoo has a proud history, stretching back for almost seven decades. Following the production of ‘Something About a Soldier’ in the Ross Bandstand in 1949, it was decided to create an event which ran alongside the existing Edinburgh Festivals. The official Tattoo was duly created with its first performance in 1950.
Why is it a tattoo?
The word tattoo comes from the early 17th-century Dutch phrase ‘doe den tap toe’, meaning ‘turn off the tap’. Drummers or trumpeters sounded this signal to tell innkeepers near military garrisons to stop serving beer so that soldiers would return to their barracks.
Since the 1970s, more than 200,000 people have watched the Tattoo live each year. Performances take place every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays. Despite (occasional) driving rain and fierce Scottish winds, it has never been cancelled.
Though it may sound similar to Fringe, it is not. The Edinburgh International Festival is put together by the team. They scour the world in search of the most exciting and creative artists working today in Art, Music, Opera, and Drama. They then create unique collaborations, world premieres, new takes on classic works, critically acclaimed productions and more .....to captivate, thrill and entertain audiences from around the world.
Examples of types of programming from this year include Geoff Sobell's Food. FOOD is an intimate dinner party, with Sobelle as you're maitre’d. The audience gathers around a dining table with sounds, scents and textures shaping a conversation about personal memories, consumption, and the evolution of food production over generations, and a production of The Threepenny Opera from Germany's The Berliner Ensemble, founded by Bertolt Brecht himself, with Australian director Barrie Kosky.
Is August in Edinburgh calling to you? Places to stay fill up fast, so if you want to take in these amazing festivals, the key is to book well in advance. Get in touch now!