What is it about?

The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) is the world’s biggest art festival, gathering various artists from around the world each year. It consists of opera, classical music, dance and theatre performances for a three week period in August. Even though all the events are held by different organizations unrelated to each other and are officially separate events, many visitors see them as part of the same festival. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the original and larger than any other similar event in the world. The EIF and The Fringe remain independent events and have their own separate programmes each year. Most of the performances take place in Edinburgh’s six major theatres, concert halls and hundreds of other smaller venues. Much of the performances take place outside in the street too. The festival brings the city to life and is loved by the locals and tourists who travel from all over the world to participate.

A few figures that will make you want to go!:

The festival has an audience of over four million, including 25,000 artists and 1,000 media. It also has an important impact on the city’s economy as it creates more than 5,200 full time jobs.

More than 75% of foreign visitors said the festival made them want to go back to Scotland in the future. The same percentage of participants declared that it made them spend more time with their family.

A little bit of history

The EIF was created by Henry Harvey Wood, the head of the British Council in Scotland, and took place for the first time in 1947. The General Manager of Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Rudolf Bing, was also one of the founders and was the one who decided the festival would take place in Edinburgh. The main aim was to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit”, celebrate the power of Arts and gather amazing performers from around the world. The first festival was mainly about classical music. That same year, eight theatrical companies crashed the official festival by organising their own event, different from the official EIF. The movement grew into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, an alternative to the EIF, where any type of performer could participate. Since then, dozens of festivals were created, all of them taking place in August and September, following the path of success traced by the EIF. The festival opened a new information centre in the Hub, a converted church located behind Edinburgh Castle, which has become one of the main venues.

The EIF will take place:

2 August – 1 September 2013

The Fringe will take place:

2 August – 26 August 2013

For any further information, visit the official website and the Fringe website.