What are the Edinburgh Festivals?

Edinburgh is known as the world’s leading festival city - and for good reason! Scotland’s capital brings together a huge collection of cultural, artistic and entertainment events across a range of festivals throughout the year. For information on all of Edinburgh's 11 major festivals visit our Festivals page.


What festivals take place in Edinburgh in August?

August is one of the most exciting times to be in Edinburgh for the festivals as multiple festivals run alongside each other. 

There are five festivals that take place during August: 

  1. Edinburgh Art Festival
  2. Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  3. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  4. Edinburgh International Festival
  5. Edinburgh International Book Festival

As well as August though, the city has lots of other great festivals spread throughout the calendar. Learn more about all our festivals.


How accessible are the festivals for those with limited mobility?

Edinburgh's Festivals work hard to improve their accessibility and inclusivity to ensure that as many people as possble are able to enjoy the festivals. Check out our guide to festival accessibility and inclusion for more information.


How far ahead should I plan a trip to Edinburgh?

Most of the festivals release their programmes only a few months in advance, which means many people make the decision to attend without knowing exactly what is on. This should not be a risk: all the festivals pride themselves on the high quality of their programmes and, in August especially, when there are over 50,000 performances, you can be sure of finding something to suit your taste.

Many people use the following guidelines:

  • For spring: plan three months ahead
  • For summer: plan six months ahead
  • For autumn: plan three months ahead
  • For winter: plan six months ahead

Check out our Planning Your Trip pages to find out more about getting the most out of your trip to Edinburgh.


How do I order a copy of a festival programme?

Each of the festivals has a different programme. When they are released, you can order them from the individual festivals’ websites, or view them online.  For links to programmes, please visit the festivals section of our website.


When do tickets go on sale for a festival?

Ticket sales depend on which festival you wish to attend. Check each individual festival for more on programme releases.


How long should I visit Edinburgh for?

Many people visit Edinburgh for two or three days and pack in as much as possible at the festivals. However, when it comes to how long to visit Edinburgh for, there is no one right answer! Edinburgh has plenty of things to do including tourist attractions, museums, as well as festival events making it perfectly suited for longer stays too. How long you stay at the festivals will depend on exactly which festivals you want to experience, how much time you have and what you want to see.


When is the best time to visit Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is a beautiful city with lots on no matter what the season, but we suggest you visit during one of the city's world-class festivals. There are festivals throughout the year, so you should be able to pick one that suits your interests and availability. The dates for the forthcoming festivals can be found here. The peak period is during the summer months, from June to September when the weather is slightly warmer than during winter months.


Should I book my trip now or wait until the festival programmes come out?

Owing to the large volume of work at each festival, the programmes tend to be published only a few months in advance. For this reason, you are likely to decide to visit the festivals long before the programmes are released.

The reputation of the festivals is such, however, that you can be assured of seeing the best in whatever topics interest you, from art to science, opera to storytelling.

Whichever festival you decide to attend, you will most likely be delighted, amazed, challenged and eager for more.

So, plan your accomodation and travel in plenty of time, and then wait in anticipation to find out what's in store.


How do I perform at a festival?

There are multiple festivals that happen year round in Edinburgh, and each one programmes its events independently.

Most of the Edinburgh festivals are curated, meaning that artistic directors select who will perform. 

Because of this, for most festivals you must wait to be selected to perform, although you can make them aware of your event or production.

The world’s arts largest festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is the only festival that allows anyone and everyone to perform. You can learn more about performing from the Fringe website.

Information about participating in each of Edinburgh's major festivals can be found or requested using the web and email links below:


How do I get a stall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

If you wish to be part of the official Fringe Arts and Crafts Markets you can apply via the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website.

To perform, busk or trade on Edinburgh’s streets outside of the areas managed by the Fringe Society, you will need to make arrangements with the Council yourself.

Street trading and theatre require a licence; more information and contact details can be found on the City of Edinburgh Council website. Busking is not licensed, but the police have put in place guidelines. 


How can I become a street performer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Street performers who want to be directly involved as an official part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe should apply via their website here. 


What is the history of Edinburgh's Festivals?

Our festivals date back as far as 1947 and they share a rich and diverse history.

Find out more about how Edinburgh became the world's leading festival city with our History of the Festivals


Can I take my children to Edinburgh's festivals?

Yes!  We have a section dedicated to families enjoying time at our festivals - whatever time of year. The International Children’s Festival in Spring has their entire programme dedicated and tailored to younger audiences. 

There are loads of family-friendly activities at all of the festivals that take place throughout the year check out our Families at the Festivals page for more information.


Where's good for a drink or a bite to eat in Edinburgh?

There are so many great options around Edinburgh that it's hard for us to pick and choose favourites - however, we've bravely had a go anyway, so check out our Food and Drink page to tips on posh nosh, stylish bars, family friendliness and more.

And if you need to know more, we'd recommend visiting The List magazine's food and drink guide for up to date recommendations, reviews, and contact information.


How easy is it to get online in Edinburgh?

Mobile: Edinburgh is very well covered by the main mobile networks, with a strong 4G signal in most parts of the city centre and beyond, and excellent 3G coverage as well for all your festival app needs.

WiFi: Edinburgh city centre offers free WiFi for residents and visitors. To use the WiFi:

  • Turn on WiFi on your mobile phone or other device
  • Look for EdiFreeWiFi in your list of available WiFi networks
  • Select EdiFreeWiFi and wait for the pop-up window
  • Log-on with either your Facebook details or by entering some basic info
  • Start enjoying the free WiFi!

Further details can be found at edinburghfreewifi.com

  • Additionally, the city has a wide range of other free WiFi options, with most cafes and bars now offering connectivity, along with all Lothian Buses and Trams.

Major tourist attractions also have generally good WiFi coverage - so you should have no problem sharing your pics with friends around the world almost as soon as they're taken.