Edinburgh Festival 2021 events span most of the month of August and into the first week of September, and take place all over the capital city of Scotland. This is not a single festival, but a group of ten summer festivals, that include the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) and the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Some of these are the largest festivals of their kind in the world, and they are overseen by independent groups and organizations that loosely liaise with each other. If that's not enough for you, there are few other festivals taking place that are not under the umbrella of the Edinburgh Festival.
Edinburgh Festival Facts
Festivals that are part of the August Edinburgh Festival include: Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Mela. Edinburgh International Film Festival was originally part of the Edinburgh Festival, but it moved to June in 2008. Essentially, these festivals turn Edinburgh into one large festival during the month of August, especially in the Old Town area directly beneath Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile.
Edinburgh Festival History
The Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival were begun in the same year, 1947. "The Fringe," as it's affectionately called, was begun as an alternative to its more highbrow sibling, which focused on performing arts, especially classical music, symphony performances, opera, and classic theater. The Fringe was a kind of upstart "gatecrasher, with more avant garde performances held outside the official venues and umbrella of the EIF. Three years later in 1950, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo was first held in the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, the grand fortress that towers over the city. Over the years, more organizations decided to hold their festivals at the same time, creating a massive Edinburgh Festival of art, comedy, theater, literature, dance, and music of every kind attended by millions.
Edinburgh Festival Location
Look for venues all over the city, from the castle to local pubs and from fine theaters and concert halls to the streets and open-air parks. The Edinburgh International Festival has its headquarters and one of its venues in The Hub, an imposing Gothic structure that was formerly a church. It is located at the end of the Royal Mile between Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle. At any one time, the other venues can accommodate up to 10,000 people at one time. They include Usher Hall (a concert hall), the Festival Theatre (a formal theater used mostly for ballet and opera), the Edinburgh Playhouse (a former cinema), the Royal Lyceum Theatre (a smaller venue used primarily for stage performances), and the Queen's Hall (a music venue also used for the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival).
The Edinburgh International Book Festival holds the majority of its events in stalls and marquees in Charlotte Square Gardens near the end of Princes Street. The Edinburgh Art Festival utilizes galleries and museums across the city. The Fringe utilizes just about every space imaginable, including formal theaters, big top tents in green spaces, local pubs, and city streets. The Tattoo occurs right in front of Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Festival Tickets
Edinburgh Festival 2021 tickets are available in advance and onsite in a variety of locations. Prices range from free (a significant number of Fringe events and other public performances) to nominal and relatively expensive. In general, tickets for the Edinburgh International Festival are the most expensive, and those held in very small venues are the most difficult to obtain. If you have specific performances or events that you wish to attend, it is highly recommended that you book them in advance. Most tickets go on sale in the springtime.
Edinburgh Festival Lodging
You can choose from a wide variety of accommodations and locations for your Edinburgh Festival 2021 lodging. But do remember that millions of visitors converge on this city in August. The most desirable places in all categories will be booked far in advance. Almost any place you choose within the greater metropolitan area, whether from luxury hotels on backpacker hostels, you will find yourself close to one festival venue or another.
Image: Edinburgh Festival / Liu Yang