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.
The Edinburgh International Festival was established in 1947 in a post-war effort to "provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit". 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.
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.
Listed in order of foundation; * = member of the umbrella body Festivals Edinburgh:
- Edinburgh International Festival (founded 1947)* — The original and "official" festival consisting of classical and contemporary theatre, opera, music, dance, visual arts, talks and workshops.
- Edinburgh Festival Fringe (1947)* — now the largest of all the festivals and indeed the largest arts festival in the world. Includes theatre, comedy, music, musicals, dance and children's shows.
- Edinburgh International Film Festival or EIFF (1947)* was traditionally held in August but, from 2008 is being held in late June.
- Edinburgh Military Tattoo (1950)*
- Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (1978)*
- Edinburgh International Book Festival (1983)*
- Edinburgh International Science Festival (1988)*
- Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival (1990)*
- Scottish International Storytelling Festival (1990)*
- Edinburgh's Hogmanay (1994)*
- Edinburgh Mela (1995)* — celebrating Edinburgh's South Asian communities
- Edinburgh International Internet Festival (1999)
- Edinburgh People's Festival (2002, but claims heritage from earlier festival of same name 1951-1954)
- Edinburgh Interactive Festival (2003)
- Edinburgh Art Festival (2004)*
- Edinburgh Annuale (2004) — contemporary art
- Festival of Politics (2005)
- Festival of Spirituality and Peace, now the just Festival based at St John's Episcopal Church (2005)
- iFest (2007) — the Internet Festival and Conference
- West Port Book Festival (2008) – a free book festival involving secondhand bookshops in the West Port area
- Edinburgh International Marketing Festival (2010)
- Edinburgh Swing Festival
- Edinburgh Harvest Festival
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
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- Edinburgh Festivals a guide to 12 of the festivals that take place in Edinburgh
- EdinburghFestivalGuide.co.uk a comprehensive listing of all (small and large) Edinburgh festivals
- Edinburgh Festivals at DMOZ
- Edinburgh Festival Guide
- A History of the Edinburgh Festivals
- Edinburgh Festival Classroom resources
- National Library of Scotland: SCOTTISH SCREEN ARCHIVE (selection of archive films about the Edinburgh Festival)