What's The Latest News On The 2021 Festivals?


We know that so many of you are watching and awaiting news of the Edinburgh Festivals 2021 programmes and so we've pulled together the following overview of how things stand across all our 11 festivals at this moment [13 April 2021] - and we aim to update this page as soon as further news becomes available. 


Edinburgh International Children's Festival: Planning for an exciting festival and that it will go ahead in one form or another from 25 May - 6 June, when as usual the Festival will showcase great theatre and dance created especially for children and young people. As part of the Festival programme, the Festival is commissioning new work which will involve over 100 freelancers based in Scotland and making a commitment to pay them whether their performance is allowed to happen or not. However, digital versions of many of the events are being developed to limit the risk of cancelling them. The primary goal is to make sure young audiences have access to high quality performances in May. You can read further detail HERE.


Edinburgh International Film Festival: Dates have yet to be set and further details will be announced at the end of March.


Edinburgh International Science Festival: The Festival is moving to summer for the first time ever, in response to a changing world. From Saturday 26 June – Sunday 11 July, the Festival will explore the theme One World. In a year that sees the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first draft of the human genome, the 50th year since the invention of email and the floppy disc, the inception of the World food programme and the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s ground-breaking trip into space, the Festival explorea how we are all connected… to each other, to Planet Earth and to the wider Universe. As with the Festival's other programmes they are devising innovative ideas on how to deliver this event safely and in their singature entertaining and inspiring style. This includes outdoor events and exhibitions, interactive make do-at-home kits and a range of walks, talks and trails. They are also planning some exciting exhibitions and installations, blending arts and science to deliver unique STEM engagement experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds. You can read further detail HERE.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival: The dates have been set [16-25 July] and tickets are currently on sale for two events [Jools Holland and Curtis Stigers] at the Festival Theatre. However the Festival is currently planning for all eventualities, with the health and safety of audiences and participants of prime concern.


Edinburgh Art Festival: The dates have been set [29 July-29 August] and further details of the programme will be announced in due course.

UPDATE [13/04/21]: Edinburgh International Festival: The Festival has announced their reimagined Festival for 2021, marking the return of live performance to Scotland’s capital city after over a year of silenced theatres and concert halls. Taking place from 7 to 29 August, the 2021 International Festival will use bespoke, temporary outdoor pavilions in iconic, easily accessible spaces throughout the city to safely reunite artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of live performance. The temporary outdoor pavilions, found at three locations including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad, will feature covered concert stages and socially distanced seating to create a beautiful setting for audiences to safely enjoy live music, opera and theatre once more. The health and safety of the entire Festival community is at the heart of the plans for this year’s festival, with full details of security and safety measures published in the coming months. Read more HERE.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Currently planning for the Fringe to return from 06 to 30 August 2021. It’s still too early to say exactly what the festival will look like at this stage, and with the situation changing so rapidly, it wouldn’t be sensible or fair to speculate at the moment. Whatever happens, the Fringe will exist in one form or another in 2021. The Festival is working with venues, artists and a variety of Fringe stakeholders to plan for a range of different scenarios – from socially distanced live performances, to hybrid digital and live performances, to a more robust digital Fringe. Public health and safety is essential, and all planning is being shaped by government advice. The Festival will continue to update artists, audiences and stakeholders as soon as able to. You can read further detail HERE.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: At present, tickets are on sale for 2021 at a reduced capacity and planning has been well considered in light of Covid risks. The Tattoo is still looking optimistically to the future and, like all businesses and organisations, will continue to navigate through the regulations and guidance as it is updated. You can read further detail HERE.

Edinburgh International Book Festival: Organisers of the Festival have confirmed that the 2021 Festival will take place from Saturday 14 to Monday 30 August 2021 from the beautiful indoor and open, grassy outdoor spaces of the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh College of Art on Lauriston Place.  While the full programme and event details will not be announced until the end of June, the Book Festival team are planning a range of live online author talks, workshops and readings and, only if circumstances permit, some events for in person, albeit socially distanced, audiences. While 2020 proved extremely challenging for the Book Festival it also opened up some extraordinarily exciting opportunities.  Building on the success of the online Book Festival, the new strategic partnership with the University of Edinburgh will enable the Festival to inhabit this innovative space in 2021 with excellent studio and theatre facilities for both online broadcasting and potential events with a socially distanced audience. You can read further detail HERE.


Scottish International Storytelling Festival: The dates have been set [16-30 October] and as is usual, programme announcements will not be made until later in the year.


Edinburgh's Hogmanay: The online edition of the 2020/21 programme has just finished - you can watch and read all about it HERE - and the team are taking a well earned break before they turn their attention to the programme which traditionally commences on 30th December.

Image credit: NVA's Speed of Light [Euan Myles/Edinburgh International Festival]

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