Edinburgh is often associated with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest art & comedy festival, but it’s not this festival alone that has given the city its nickname as the “festival city” – in fact there are over 12 festivals taking place in Edinburgh every year. Rather than shining the spotlight on the already well known Festival Fringe, we’ll share some other great festivals in Edinburgh coming up next month that are well worth checking out …
Edinburgh International Festival
(9th August – 2nd September)
The festival that started it all, the Edinburgh International Festival was founded in 1947, with a love of classical music at its heart. With the first festival taking place just after the horrors of World War II, the event’s founders aimed to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit”, and enrich the cultural life of Scotland.
Now staged primarily in The Hub, a truly breathtaking building just next to Edinburgh’s famous castle, it is one of the most famous festivals in the world.
Drawing in the finest purveyors of classical music, opera, theatre and dance from all over the globe, it’s helped put Edinburgh on the map, with many repeat visitors wooed by Edinburgh’s jawdropping architecture and undeniable charm. This year’s festival looks back to the founder’s original intent, to uplift the human spirit – and with a triple-dip recession looming, we could all use a little of that. Highlights for 2012 include visionary theatre director Silviu Purcărete’s take on Gulliver’s Travels, a chance to catch the dance stars of the future with an exciting triple bill from New York’s famous Juilliard School, a playful and innovative take on My Fair Lady in Meine faire Dame – a Language Laboratory, and a return performance from one of the world’s greatest opera singers, Waltraud Meier.
Edinburgh Art Festival
2nd August – 2nd September
Despite the International Festival running for over 60 years now, the visual arts tend to have been neglected. In 2004, the Edinburgh Art Festival set out to change all that, with the help of the EIF.
The vast majority of events and exhibitions taking place as part of the month long festival are completely free, designed to encourage as many people as possible to discover the latest and greatest artists from around the globe.
This year’s festival is the biggest yet, with a series of new public art commissions and more than 45 major exhibitions taking place throughout Edinburgh’s many established and independent galleries. Alongside exhibitions covering the work of David Hockney, Picasso’s contemporaries and 100 works selected from the rarely-glimpsed Royal Collection, emerging artists take over the city, including a new exhibition from someone you’ll usually catch on the Fringe, comedian Harry Hill.
Edinburgh Book Festival
11th – 27th August
Britain’s biggest book festival, even more ambitious in scale than the famous Hays Festival, this celebration of all things literary sprang to life in 1983.
Founded by publisher Jenny Brown, its existence earned Edinburgh the coveted title of UNESCO’s first City of Literature in 2004.
From its humble beginnings, where it played host to just 30 authors, today’s festival now offers up more than 800 writers and events.
From encouraging new writing through its commissioning programme, to encouraging first-time writers through a fascinating series of talks and workshops with established authors, it’s one of the most popular festivals in the country and sells out sharp.
This year’s event welcomes more authors than ever before, including William McIlvanney, Simon Armitage, Iain Banks and A.L. Kennedy.
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