10 reasons to go to the Edinburgh Festivals

Every summer the capital of Scotland becomes the world’s cultural melting pot, with citizens of the city and the country joined by artists and audiences from every corner of the globe. Some people wonder whether these Festivals could just as easily take place in any city, not realising that the Festivals are rooted in Edinburgh and have become part of the history of Scotland. So why should you go to the Edinburgh Festivals this summer?

1. There's a Birthday Party

2022 is the 75th anniversary of Edinburgh's first festivals and the birth of what has become the global phenonema that is the Edinburgh festivals. And this birthday coincides with their return from the closures and restrictions of recent years. So expect to find a city overtaken by a spirit of festivity, with artists thirsty to perform and audiences hungry for shows. During the summer you'll find thousands of events at the seven festivals - Edinburgh Jazz & BLues Festival, Edinburgh Art FestivalEdinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. You can find a quick overviee HERE.

2. In an Amazing City

EIF - Bloom
Everyone uses the same word to describe Edinburgh: dramatic. From the majestic Edinburgh Castle towering over the city centre, through the ancient backstreets of the medieval Old Town, to the historic heart of the New Town – the city takes the breath away at every corner. The rich history of the city has been the inspiration for all its festivals and they in turn have now become part of the unique appeal of Edinburgh, with the small size of the city meaning that festival events are relatively close together and easy to get to. All in all its makes for the perfect festival location where everyone, locals and visitors alike, are part of the city's unfolding drama.

3. It's Just Joyful

12 Torchlight 03 Chris Watt CAP
When you walk around the city during the Edinburgh Festivals, you’re immediately struck by one thing: a spirit of pure joy. It’s seems that around every corner, and in all the venues, people are in the midst of feasting on the huge range of cultural delicacies on offer - with a joyful look on their faces. Not all the events are light and humorous, indeed Edinburgh is famed for its hard hitting festival shows, but even in the midst of heated debate and deep reflection there appears to be a feeling of sheer enjoyment. Edinburgh at festival time just feels like one big joyful party.

4. Full of Magical Experiences

Hogmanay - Firework
It’s said that people today want experiences more than possessions. If that’s the case then the Edinburgh Festivals are the place to be. Indeed Edinburgh’s huge appeal has grown over the years because magical experiences are at the core of what they do. Whether you’re in an outdoor arena watching a theatreical extravaganza or on the back of a motorbike in a one-man show, the festivals take you on journeys that swiftly become amazing memories that you can’t wait to share. The Edinburgh Festivals are indeed an experience that’s hard to forget.

5. A Place of Discovery

Fringe - Fleabag poster
We’re all guilty of sticking to what we like, eating and drinking the same old thing, listening to our favorite musicians, or going to see shows where we like the writer or the actors. Well Edinburgh at festival time is the perfect place to get outside your echo chamber. The Festivals create new shows, host work from around the world, open the door to different, sometimes discordant, voices – and its all done in a way where you feel comfortable  taking a few more risks than normal. That’s what great festivals do: open your eyes and ears to something different. Who knows what or who you might find in this unique place of cultural discovery.

6. Fun for all the family

Book - Family
If you thought the Edinburgh’s Festivals were just for adults, then think again. There’s always something on offer for younger festivalgoers and their families, whether its workshops to really let them get their hands dirty (with appropriate safety gloves and glasses of course!) or world-class theatre and dance shows, with artists from across the globe. The Festivals believe that all children deserve the opportunity to develop their creativity and so there’s shows that are deeply engaging, innovative and inspiring. You’re bound to find something to suit all ages ....and if you look closely, you’ll even find shows specially created for new born babies!!!!

7. Distinctly Scottish

Tattoo - Scottish

The Festivals proudly take place in Scotland’s glorious capital, with the city and the country central to their appeal. At the heart of each festival are a range of artists, writers, performers, and thinkers who have the roots in Scottish soil and are nurtured by the festivals, providing an opportunity to not only showcase their talent, but also engage with their peers from around the globe. It is this mix of the local and the global that makes Edinburgh so special at festival time. They think global and act local – which in any other context would sound corny but, given that the term was first coined by the Edinburgh town planner Patrick Geddes, feels appropriate in summing up the distinctly Scottish charm of the Edinburgh Festivals.

8. Fiercely International

EIF - Welcome World

One of the amazing things about Edinburgh at festival time is the variety of shows and audiences. It’s a truly global celebration, like an Olympic Games of culture, with nearly 70 countries taking part. Indeed that internationalism is at the heart of the story. The first festivals in 1947 sought to 'provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit' by bringing people and artists together from around the world. Over the years that spirit has been sustained, making Edinburgh and it’s festivals a unique hub of international cultural engagement. Now, following the worldwide pandemic and in the face of numerous global issues, the festivals' founding international spirit is as relevant as ever – and will magnificently bloom again this year.

9. Some Enlightened Thinking

Science - GastroFest

For many people, festivals are light entertainment and fireworks that leave no legacy. Well, Edinburgh thinks differently and much more seriously about its festivals, which is not surprising in a city at the centre of the Enlightenment. That period saw an extraordinary flowering of rational thinking and scientific endeavour, influenced the great thinkers of Paris, London, Berlin and the USA, and laid the foundations for future discoveries and innovations. The Enlightenment had many roots that left their mark on Edinburgh. For the festivals, that mark can be seen in the spirit of curiosity, the desire to explore, and the passion for debate that runs through the programmes, the artists and the audience. Edinburgh at Festival time always seems to be deep in thought.

10. And finally, they're Authentic

Storytelling Centre

That's a bit of an overvused term, so what do we mean when we say the Edinburgh Festivals are authentic? Well, there's the fact that each of the festivals has a reason for being in Edinburgh. The Book Festival can pont to the city's long publishing and writing history, the Science Festival to a city of science and innovation, Storytelling Festival to the country's rich oral traditions - and each festival has a similar story to tell which roots them firmly in the city. And these authentic roots are probably one of the reasons why the festivals are attended by the majority of Edinburgh citizens: in fact they are the lifeblood of the festivals, without which they could not exist. So you'll find yourself surrounded by locals and visitors alike when you go to the Edinburgh Festivals.

So why don't you join us in Edinburgh this summer? It's going to be an amazing year. Find all the latest news on this year's Edinburgh Festivals HERE.

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