Edinburgh International Festival


12th August – 14th September 2011


Edinburgh has played host to the Edinburgh International Festival since its beginning in 1947. The festival has provided venues for the performing arts groups and individuals to perform. Best-in-class performers from around the world are sent invitations by the Festival Director and are asked to be a part of this amazing event. The festival also plays host to many visual art exhibitions, workshops and artist talks.

Due to the continuing growth of the Edinburgh International Festival over the years, the festival found a permanent home in The Hub, a gothic architectural marvel situated near Edinburgh Castle, in 1999. This growth and the necessity for a permanent venue is not surprising when you consider the level of talent of the performers, speakers, musicians and artists who respond to the festival director’s invitation. Such performers as the T’ang Quartet, The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, Malcomlm Martineau and the Scottish Ballet provide hours of spectacular entertainment for attendees of all ages.

Many other festivals also complement the Edinburgh International Festival. Some of the festivals are, the Edinburgh Fringe, which features art, the International Film Festival, which focuses on film, the International Book Festival, which highlights books, literature and writers and the Jazz and Blues Festival. The Edinburgh International Festival is truly an event that has something for everyone.

Edinburgh Art Festival


4th August – 4th September 2011


Since its establishment in 2004, the Edinburgh Art Festival has provided a venue for museums, galleries and artists to display their visual artwork. The festival is a culmination of many years of artistic display in Edinburgh and is a by-product of the Edinburgh International Festival, which began in 1947. The Edinburgh International Festival has featured many high-profile exhibitions and retrospectives. These shows have highlighted Scottish Colourists, such as Leslie Hunter, Samuel Peploe and Francis Cadell and French artists, Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. The festival has also featured Dutch Baroque artist Rembrandt van Rijn.

By 2001, gallery directors and visual artists formed a collective in order to promote the visual arts in a more focused manner. The very first festival was held in 2004. From that point forward, the Edinburgh Art Festival has provided a marketing platform and venue for collaborative projects, exhibitions, commissions and artist promotions.

The Edinburgh Art Festival continues to grow and flourish. It is now one of the premier visual arts festivals in the United Kingdom. Gallery directors and artists continue to work with individuals and organisations to provide a platform for visual artists from around the world.

Edinburgh International Book Festival


13th – 29th August 2011


During Edinburgh’s International Festival, the largest book festival in the world takes place. The Edinburgh International Book Festival occurs each year during the last three weeks of August. The festival features debates, political and cultural talks and a children’s events programme that is known throughout the world.

From its humble beginnings in a tent in 1983 to its current status as one of the world’s largest book festivals, the Edinburgh International Book Festival has had a major impact on literature around the world. The event has featured well-known authors, such as J.K. Rowling, Susan Sontag, Al Gore and Margaret Atwood and the highly regarded Children’s Programme, which incorporates storytelling, book signings, panel discussions and reading events for children.

Aside from the promotion of famous authors and children’s literature, the festival features over 700 events that appeal to everyone. Both adults and children will find a wide variety of things to do, such as educational events, performances, writing workshops and panel discussions.

As a testament to its appeal and cultural significance, and because of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh was the first city to be named the UNESCO City of Literature in 2004. This prestigious award is presented by the United Nations and is given to cities that foster public and private partnerships that encourage creative and entrepreneurial enterprises.

Edinburgh International Film Festival


15th – 26th June 2011


For a fortnight in June, one of the world’s oldest film festivals takes place. The Edinburgh International Film Festival has been running each year since 1947. The festival features UK film premiers as well as international premieres and exhibitions of work by contemporary filmmakers.

In 1947, the festival began as a programme that featured only documentaries and was produced by the Edinburgh Film Guild. Over time, the programme grew to encompass fiction and experimental films. From 1947 until 2007, the festival coincided with the Edinburgh International Festival in August, however, in 2008, the festival was moved to June.

There have been many actors and actresses who have graced the red carpet at the festival. Notables, such as Sir Sean Connery, Sir Patrick Stewart, America Ferrera, Tilda Swinton and Isabella Rossellini are but a few of the world-renowned stars who have shown up to curate events or participate in a film’s release.

Of course, a film festival would be nothing without its premiers. Films like The Hurt Locker, The Illusionist, Mesrine, Third Star, Get Low and Winter’s Bone, have all made their UK premieres at the festival.

Edinburgh Hogmanay 2012 Festival

Leave it to the fair citizens of Edinburgh to ring in the Scottish New Year, known as Hogmanay, in style! New Years celebrations are held world-wide but scarcely is there a better place to party than in Edinburgh. This years Edinburgh Hogmanay 2012 festival spans four days from December 30th 2011 through January 2nd 2012.

Book your accommodation now for Edinburgh Hogmanay 2012. Find the best room rates here

Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

The Hogmanay festival begins with the unbelievably gorgeous torchlight procession which wends its way through Edinburgh. Thousands of celebrants carry lit torches to create a visual “river of fire” from Parliament Square on the Royal Mile to Calton Hill. The crowning spectacle is the dazzling Son et Lumiere fireworks show on Calton Hill, which sets the city skies alight. Torches will be available for purchase in advance on www.edinburghshogmanay.com for £6 each or you can buy them on the night for £7. Proceeds from the sale of torches go to local charites Radio Forth Cash for Kids and Barnardo’s Scotland.


Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party

Then it is time for the Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party with live bands on multiple stages performing before enthusiastic crowds. Partiers can patronize the many outdoor bars while listening and dancing to live music. The Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party is a ticket only event and takes place just off Princes Street with the Concert in the Gardens featuring a host of Scottish and international music acts, running along side in West Princes Street Gardens.

Similar to an Irish Ceili, the Keilidh in Resolution Square takes place within an exclusive area of the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party. Here you can dance along to traditional Scottish music, with a Ceilidh Caller teaching the crowd the various steps.

Edinburgh Hogmanay 2012 tickets

Tickets for the 2012 events are now on sale from edinburghshogmanay.com. Tickets for the Street Party cost £15, Concert in the Gardens tickets are £40/£35 and the Keilidh tickets are £35. Tickets for the Concert in the Gardens and the Keilidh also grant you access to the Street Party.  All tickets booked from Ireland will be mailed out by early December. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Box Office – International Enquiries 0044 131 226 0000.

Book your accommodation now for Edinburgh Hogmanay 2012. Find the best room rates here

New Year’s Day in Edinburgh

Visitors who are either brave or loony or both may later opt to participate in the Loony Dook, a wintery splash into the chilly waters of the River Forth. This eccentric event raises significant funds every year for local charities so those who dare venture in can be assured their sacrifices will be rewarded!  The Loony Dock swim is a ticket only event, with tickets going on sale in October.

The One O’Clock Run begins at Edinburgh Castle and sees runners head downhill along the one mile route, passing through the Royal Mile and finishing in Holyrood Park. This is a ticket only event (Entry £8), which usually sells out early. Registration on the day begins at 11am at Edinburgh Castle, where you will exchange your ticket for an official T-shirt.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is an unforgettable New Year’s experience not to be missed!

Edinburgh Mela Festival


2nd – 4th September 2011


“Mela” is a Sanskrit word meaning a community-wide meeting, gathering or celebration. It has become a well-known moniker for local and international festivals and gatherings which embrace ethnic and cultural diversity.

The Edinburgh Mela Festival first begun in 1995 by the ethnic minority communities in the town and has evolved into a large annual affair filled with programmes of music, dance, theater, sports, arts and crafts, and activities for children. The Festival lasts several days at multiple charming city venues and it draws thousands of guests from the United Kingdom and beyond.

It showcases ethnic art and experiences ranging from the trials and tribulations of immigration to African, Asian and Indian dance, fashion and music. Original commissioned works which draw together storytellers, musicians, actors and all manner of artists are one of its hallmarks. Intriguing food choices are abundant and the marketplace is thriving, so everyone will find something to delight and entertain.

Mela adds a unique dimension to Edinburgh’s many annual festivals and artistic performances and is a worthy destination for locals and visitors alike.

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival


22nd – 31st July 2011


When Scottish and Irish music meld with Cuban and Latin American sounds while Memphis blues and New Orleans jazz waft from other stages all across town, you know you must be at the famous Edinburgh Jazz and Blues festival. This multi-day event which features an eclectic mix of artists, styles, and sounds is the highlight of the summer music scene in Edinburgh.

It caters to every taste and mood: the visitor can enjoy classic basement club jazz, soul-jazz-funk, swing and easy listening, the cool lonely sound of the saxophone or singers who pack a vocal punch that defies expectation. It has attracted artists ranging from John Burgess and Freddie King to Kevin MacKenzie Vital Signs and Andreas Varady appearing with Spirit of Django.

The entertainment is non-stop from morning till night and the venues are a veritable potpourri of must-see Edinburgh sites from indoor halls to gorgeous al fresco spaces. Music aficionados and casual fans alike will not want to miss the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues festival.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival – Edinburgh


21st – 30th October 2011


Storytelling – the oldest of the human arts, most likely began around a nighttime fire while the community worried about predators, both real and imaginary, with the storyteller strengthening everyone’s hearts and spirits. Even today nothing honors the story and the storyteller more than a live performance. Visitors to Edinburgh can enjoy this experience during the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, an annual event which draws thousands of attendees and hundreds of skilled storytellers from across the globe.

The event is held at the Edinburgh Storytelling Centre which includes the historic John Knox House and is complete with a theatre, gift shop and café. Guests at the Festival will enjoy ancient and contemporary storytellers from foreign climes such as China, Malaysia, and Thailand as well as from the ranks of professional storytellers in Scotland.

In addition to listening to stories, guests can participate in workshops, talks, and “Meet the Storyteller” sessions. Activities for younger members of the family are also included. The Scottish International Storytelling Festival preserves the oral tradition of the storyteller and is a unique experience which will be treasured by all who attend.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

5th – 29th August 2011


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, also known simply as The Fringe, is an iconic annual festival that is central to Edinburgh culture. Although the festival was not given a name until 1948, The Fringe first took place in 1947, when several local theatre groups did not receive invitations to participate in the Edinburgh International Festival. To this day, it continues to take place alongside the International Festival and several other Edinburgh events each August.

In 1959, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe became a bit more formal when the Festival Fringe Society was formed to provide organisation and management. However, it is important to note that much of the point of this festival is that it is entirely unjuried, which means no performer, artist or performance troupe is turned away. This unique approach to providing a stage for performers of any ilk and any level of ability has paved the way for many now-famous performers to get their start.

This unique Edinburgh festival has long since outgrown the other annual festivals taking place in Edinburgh at this time and is the largest art festival of this sort around the world. Visitors can expect to see all manner of art and performance, including theatre, comedy, art exhibits, dance performances and musical acts.

The list of well-known names that have graced The Fringe’s programme over the years includes: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ricky Gervais, Emma Thomson, Jude Law, Christian Slater, Hugh Grant, Robin Williams and Susan Sarandon.

Visit the Official Edinburgh Fringe Festival website for further information