Edinburgh's Six August Festivals
2022 is the 75th anniversary of Edinburgh's birth as a world leading festival city. Formed in the shadow of a worldwide cataclysm, our first festivals sought to use culture as a healing balm to bring peoples and nations together in celebration of our common humanity and help ‘the flowering of the human spirit’. That founding spirt is as revelant today as it was back in 1947 and our six August Festivals now promise a month of extraordinary experiences in Scotland's majestic capital city.
Starting the August ball rolling will be the Edinburgh Art Festival [28 July to 28 August]
The UK’s largest annual visual arts festival, which this year will feature leading international and UK artists alongside the best emerging talent, major survey exhibitions of historic figures, and a special programme of newly commissioned artworks that respond to public and historic sites in the city. From photography documenting Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe to carnival-inspired performance art, the 2022 programme features international artists alongside exciting new voices from Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond. Highlights of the programme include special commissions and performances to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Union Canal and it's people, Tracey Emin's second ever solo show in Scotland, the first major survey of Céline Condorelli in the UK, an exhbiiton on the life of renowned sculptor Barbara Hepworth, Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace, A Taste for Impressionism, and New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville - alongside a 90ft-long inflatable recreation of E.coli and the changing life of a love-heart-shaped rhododendron bush, with the Art Late programme providing an evening of exhibitions, live performance, artists and curators in conversation.
The Festival will present a jam-packed programme of over 80 events across the city, celebrating 75 years of bringing world cultures together. The theatre series includes the shape-shifting Swiss artist James Thiérree, Dutch powerhouse Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, and Tony award-winning star of stage and screen Alan Cumming, plus a brand-new staging of Liz Lochhead’s powerful adaptation of Euripides’ Medea. Symphonic orchestras and international soloists make a return to the city's spectacular venues in full force - including appearnces by the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra and a residency from London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. This year’s enthralling dance programme includes Akram Khan Company’s Jungle Book reimagined, Aakesh Odedra’s Samsara draws from Chinese and Indian mythology and traditions, and Scottish Ballet’s Coppélia. A highlight of the opera programme will no doubt be Garsington Opera's new production of Dvořák’s beloved opera Rusalka. While the series of contemporay music at Leith Theatre has an incredible line up ranging from Gaelic electronica, boundary-pushing rap, Romanian folk legends, mesmerising Sufi songs and cult indie rock. And it all kicks off with Macro [August 5th] a free, outdoor performance of jaw-dropping acrobatics, dance and live music, created as a collaboration between Scottish and Australian artists.
Being totally open-access, the Fringe is proud to include in its programme anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them. The 75th anniversary of the Fringe will feature an exciting range of shows, with theatre, comedy, music, dance, circus, musicals, variety, cabaret, events and more. With currently c3000 shows on sale, we can only provide a thin scratch of that thick surface when we say that featured in the programme so far is - great theatre from the likes of the iconic Hamlet with Ian McKellen, Paines Plough's Caste-ing and a world first staging of Irvine Welsh’s Porno; an amazing dance and physical theatre programme including Taiwan Season: Tomato, a celebration of Cuban street dance culture in Havana Steet, the return of La Clique, and Circus Abyssinia: Tulu; a veritable who's who of the comedy circuit inclduing Frankie Boyle, Reginal D Hunter, Shazia Mirza, Rich Hall and Mark Thomas; and music from fringe favourite Camille O'Sullivan, Cara Dillon, Tom Waits For No Man, Paris: From Piaf to Pop!, and The Tiger Lillies.
August will also see the return of our iconic Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo [5 to 27th August]
This August, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will make its highly anticipated return with this year’s show, Voices. Staged on the iconic Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, the show will be a celebration of expression, giving a stage to performers and acts from around the globe to share their voice. Over 800 performers from across the world will take part in in this year’s Tattoo, bringing with them incredible music, dance, and performance talents. There will be cultural showcases and musical presentations by performers from Mexico, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand along with homegrown talent from the UK. Audiences can expect to hear the legendary sound of the Massed Pipes and Drums that will echo around the Esplanade as part of Voices, supported by Tattoo Pipes and Drums, Tattoo Dancers, Tattoo Fiddlers, and musicians from UK Military Regiments.
Further details and tickets are available HERE
Later in the month is the Edinburgh International Film Festival [12 to 20th August]
This year's Festival will see 87 new features, 12 short film programmes, and two large scale retrospectives celebrate the 2022 Theme of the 50th Anniversary of the Women’s Film Festival in new Creative Director Kristy Matheson’s inaugural edition. The programme of 87 new feature films is structured across 3 Galas - Aftersun, Nude Tuesday and After Yang - 5 themed strands - The Conversation, The Chamber, Heartbreakers, Night Moves, and Postcards from the Edge - 1 Big Screen Presentation and 10 films in competition as part of the The Powell & Pressburger Award for Best Feature Film. And there;s much, much more incluidng - Refaming the Gaze takes one of the central questions of feminist filmmaking as its starting point: how to deconstruct the traditional cinematic gaze through experiments with film form, moving decade-by-decade from the 1970s to the present? Exploring this year’s festival theme is a major retrospective of the work of performer and film director Kinuyo Tanaka (1909 - 1977) who played an essential role in the history of Japanese cinema. Film Fest in the City presents an ambitious and free programme of family favourites, timeless classics and blockbusters, in partnership with Essential Edinburgh, and supported by Event Scotland, in one of the city’s most iconic locations, St Andrew Square.
And the August festival calendar is completed by the Edinburgh International Book Festival [13 to 28th August]
More than 600 events featuring over 550 authors, performers, musicians and thinkers from 50 countries will take place at the Edinburgh College of Art but with a new site layout to accommodate more events and bigger audience. Amongst the hundreds of authors taking part this year are Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong, Outlander writer Diana Gabaldon, as well as Noam Chomsky, Jack Monroe, Alexander McCall Smith, Denise Mina, William Dalrymple and Armando Iannucci. New books will be launched and discussed including by Maggie O'Farrell [Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 winner] and her hotly-anticipated novel The Marriage Portrait, Irvine Welsh talks for the first time about his new crime novel The Long Knives, Monica Ali introduces her first novel for a decade and the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah, talks about his novel Afterlives. Artistic boundaries will be crossed in events featuring world-famous musicians including Martha Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker, Vashti Bunyan, and Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross. And in waht will surely be a festival highlight First Minister Nicola Sturgeon interviews screen legend Brian Cox about a life on the Scottish stage and his role in television hit series Succession. Around 200 of the events will also be livestreamed for you to watch from home, with a Pay What You Can ticket price.