Edinburgh's Festivals - May roundup

Back in January, we put together a quick roundup of what we knew about the 12 forthcoming Edinburgh Festivals. Since then, there's been a lot more information released, and one of the festivals (Science) has already happened, with much fun had

Here's a much updated look at what's in store, and when we'll know even more details...

nullImaginate Festival
28 May - 5 June 2016

Imaginate's 2016 programme for children and young adults went public in mid-March, and was described by incoming Artistic Director Noel Jordan as "a feast of international performances for all ages and tastes... stunning and adventurous works.

There are shows from Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Scotland and Spain, and tickets are on sale now!

Here's more information on the festival with links to programme and ticketing details.

nullEdinburgh International Film Festival
15 - 26 June 2016

This year sees the 70th edition of the Film Festival, and although the full programme won't be revealed until 25 May, they've already announced four big pieces of news. 

Firstly, the opening film of the festival will be the world premiere of Tommy's Honour, the story of ground-breaking golfing legend Tom Morris. The cast includes Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden, Ophelia Lovibond, Peter Fernando and Sam Neill.

To close the festival, there's another world premiere and the revival of another legendary Scottish icon, in the shape of Gillies Mackinnon's remake of Whisky Galore! Gregor Fisher, James Cosmo and Kevin Guthrie star alongside new talents Sean Biggerstaff, Naomi Battrick and Ellie Kendrick. 

In February, the Festival announced another collaboration with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, in the shape of a live-scored screening of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, following last year's very popular Back to the Future event.

And finally for now, there's the Film Festival's two retrospective strands, with films chosen from the cool, provocative stories of the French Cinéma Du Look movement, and a collection of early comic book adaptations, the forerunners of today's mega-blockbusters.

Jazz 250Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
15-24 July 2016

We're just a few days away from the launch of the full programme for this year's Jazz and Blues Festival, which has a huge act to follow after their record-breaking success in 2015. 

Thursday 5 May will see all the acts announced but, like the Film Festival, the Jazz Fest team have already been teasing us with details of some of the great acts to look forward to. 

We found out at the start of the year that Jools Holland and the Average White Band were on their way, and since then, further huge names have been announced including John McLaughlin, Curtis Stigers and Jan Garbarek, plus seven more great acts. 

Tickets for some of these gigs are on sale now, and the full programme should be bookable from Thursday. Find out more about the festival including programme and ticketing links.

nullEdinburgh Art Festival
28 July - 28 August 2016

In January, we had just discovered that Turner Prize nominee Ciara Phillips had been commissioned to create a 'Dazzle Ship' as a central part of the Art Festival programme. 

Since then we've also found out about 43 partner exhibitions and pop-up events including work from the likes of Damián Ortega, Joseph Beuys, Caroline Mesquita, Barbara Rae, Jonathan Owen and many more. 

The full Edinburgh Art Festival programme will be announced later in the year, so keep an eye on our news pages, eNewsletters and Facebook and Twitter channels for more.

nullRoyal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
5-27 August 2016

In January, tickets for Edinburgh's annual military spectacular had just gone on sale and, as always, they were flying out the door - and while that initial huge rush has subsided a bit as expected, sales have continued strongly.

There's not that long left until August, by when the event is expected to have sold out for the 18th year in a row - so if you are thinking of going, don't leave it too late to book! 

The Tattoo has also been taking their epic show to far flung lands, in the shape of their March tour to Australia and New Zealand, where they played to record audiences and make a huge positive impact on the local economy. There were also the first hints of possible future tours as the Tattoo continues its global success story.

EIF 250Edinburgh International Festival
5-29 August 2016

Bellini's remarkable opera, Norma, produced by Salzburg Festival and starring world renowned mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli, was the first show to be revealed by the International Festival, back in November. 

Since then, the Festival has not only undergone a rather fetching rebranding, but they're also announced their full and fairly incredible programme for August, featuring truly world-class music, theatre, dance and opera.

It's quite a line-up with a number of major international names, including Youssou N’Dour, James Thierrée, Sir András Schiff, Maxim Vengerov and John Tiffany, plus contemporary music artists including Mogwai, Sigur Rós, and Young Fathers. 

There's also a very strong representation of shows particularly suited to younger people, as the Festival's drive to engage wider audiences continues.

Tickets are on sale now, so here's more on the festival, including useful programme and ticketing links.

nullEdinburgh Festival Fringe
5-29 August 2016

As we reported in our January roundup, the Fringe had set a number key dates when tickets would begin to go on sale for shows as they were added to the mammoth programme.

Since then, four of these have arrived, with more shows added each time, and the next is due in little over a week on 12 May. There'll be one more early release on 26 May, and then on 8 June the full Fringe programme for 2016 will be announced and made available. And suddenly August will feel very close indeed! 

Find out more about the Fringe here, with links for programme information and ticketing.

Book 250Edinburgh International Book Festival
13-29 August 2016

That week is set to be a huge one for festival fans, with the launch of the full Edinburgh International Book Festival programme on 9 June, just one day after the Fringe. 

Last year was the Book Festival's most successful ever, so we can't wait to see what they have in store for Charlotte Square Gardens this August.

nullEdinburgh Mela
27-28 August 2016

Huge crowds enjoyed last year's Mela, with 26,000 people flocking to Leith Links for the amazing array of world music, dance, fashion and food on offer. 

Details of this year's Mela should arrive in July, so look out for more details here and on our Facebook and Twitter channels. Or why not sign up for our regular eNewsletters?


Scottish International Storytelling Festival
21-30 October 2015

With almost 6 months to go until the next Storytelling Festival, details are in relatively short supply - but we do know that this year's theme will be Festival of Dreams, and will use storytelling to make "the liberating power of imagination... open to everyone." 

International programming themes will come from Spain and Portugal, as well as Central and Southern America, joining with traditional artists from closer to home. 

More information on the Festival programme is expected to become available in late August or early September - and we'll be here to keep you up to date.

nullEdinburgh’s Hogmanay
30 December 2016 - 1 January 2017

And to close out another fantastic festivals year, there's the inimitable Edinburgh's Hogmanay which started 2015 in such style and brought huge attention from online fans in China

We don't know much yet about which top bands will be playing and what else the December spectacular has in store, but look out for information appearing from July, with more details later in the year. 

So... do you want to be a part of our amazing festival city this year? 

We definitely hope so - and to help you make it happen, check out our planning pages for tips on travel, accommodation, food and drink, accessibility, family friendliness and more!

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