Edinburgh Festival

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Royal Mile street performance

The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for many arts and cultural festivals that take place each summer, mostly in August, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Though the festivals are put on by various organizations unrelated to each other, and so are officially separate events, they are regarded by many visitors as part of the same event; and together they form the largest annual cultural festival in the world. The Edinburgh Festival is member of the Global Cultural Districts Network.

The original, and still the largest, component festivals are the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (The Fringe); the latter is in its own right larger than any other similar event in the world.


Sign on the city boundary

The Edinburgh International Festival was established in 1947 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 organising their own event, outside the official auspices of the EIF; this started the movement which grew into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 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. In more recent years various other annual cultural festivals have been created in Edinburgh, again by separate organisations, though taking place at around the same time.

The festivals

The Royal Mile where performers "on the Fringe" showcase their talents
Cast members publicising a Fringe production of Shakespeare's Macbeth
The Pleasance venue

Listed in order of foundation; * = member of the umbrella body Festivals Edinburgh:

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

Notes and references

  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

External links