Edinburgh's Festival 2021

02 June 2021

Festival Fireworks D

While a lot of Edinburgh’s well-know and world-renowned festivals were sadly cancelled in 2020, the good news is that a lot are coming back in 2021.

Whether you love the arts, are mad about science, or relish the thought of getting lost in a good book, there’s a festival in Edinburgh for you.

Read on to discover the latest info on Edinburgh’s festivals and get planning!......


June 2021

Edinburgh International Children's Festival:

25 May to 6 June 2021

Edinburgh International Childrens Festival

Running as a hybrid programme of online and outdoor theatre and dance for young people, the festival programme also includes Family Encounters, a series of free pop-up artistic encounters, walkabout characters and sound trails happening in outdoor spaces across Edinburgh in the first and last weekend of the Festival. 

Discover more about the Edinburgh International Children's Festival


Edinburgh International Science Festival:

26 June to 11 July 2021

Edinburgh International Science Festival Scifest Lates

This year, the festival will be held in the summer and will explore the theme of ONE WORLD: Science Connects Us.

There will be 160+ online events and experiences for all ages, delivering an exciting mix of exhibitions, presenter-led workshops, science shows, discussions and downloadable family activities. At its heart, however, the Festival deliverers inspirational live experiences.

While it won't look quite the same as a normal year, the Festival is delighted to be back in the live game with a focus on outdoor experiences such as walks, tours, trails, exhibitions and installations, which allow audiences to use the city as their playground, safely getting their science fix this summer.

Discover more about the Edinburgh International Science Festival


July 2021

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival:

16 to 25 July 2021

Brass Band 500X261

Across ten days, EJBF will present over 40 digital events, including 20 concerts from Assembly Roxy which will be lived streamed with a small audience. The full programme is now live - see their website for full details > 

The festival will have a focus on Scottish artists, and audiences can expect to see a host of familiar faces, many in new settings.

The concerts with Curtis Stigers and Jools Holland at Festival Theatre Edinburgh have both moved to July 2022. Edinburgh Festival Carnival will move online with a three-day digital celebration presenting a wide range of local and international performances and online workshops, running from 16 - 18 July 2021.

Discover more about Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival


August 2021

Edinburgh Art Festival:

29 July-29 August 2021

Edinburgh Art Festival Regent Bridge Cr Stuart Armitt

(Image Credit: Stuart Armitt)

The 17th edition of Edinburgh Art Festival will bring together over 35 exhibitions and new commissions in visual art spaces across the city, complemented by an online programme of events and digital presentations.

Amongst the highlights are major new commissions and presentations by leading international artists, including the UK & European premiere of Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien in partnership with National Galleries of Scotland; and two new festival co-commissions, with work by Sean Lynch in collaboration with Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and a sound installation by Emeka Ogboh with Talbot Rice Gallery.

The programme will also feature important retrospectives and major survey shows, and see the return of Platform, the annual showcase supporting artists in the early stages of their careers.

Discover more about Edinburgh Art Festival>


Edinburgh International Festival:

7 to 29 August 2021

Usher Hall Audience Cr Stuart Armitt

 (Image Credit: Stuart Armitt)

The Festival has launched the programme for their reimagined 2021 Festival, featuring live and outdoor events in some of Edinburgh’s most historic and picturesque settings, with events that are diverse and inspiring, providing a joyful route back to live performance.

More than 170 different shows and productions will be staged at 10 indoor and outdoor locations across the city during the three-week festival - with the vast majority of shows staged in three pop-up 'pavilions' - at a new culture quarter at Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh Academy Junior School’s playing fields and Edinburgh University’s Old College quadrangle.

The festival’s opening weekend will see a ticketed three-day spectacle in the Royal Botanic Garden

Discover more about the Edinburgh International Festival


Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

06 to 30 August 2021

Fringe Acrobatic Performer Cr Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

(Image Credit: Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society)

Shows at this year's festival will fall into three broad formats:

1. Live in-person events that meet government safety guidelines.

2. Scheduled or as-live online performances that give a live experience of happening at a stated date and time

3. Online on-demand shows which can be viewed any time throughout the Fringe, from any time zone around the world.

More shows will be added weekly in July and throughout August.

The first shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be available to book on Thursday 01 July.

Although it will not be possible to produce the usual printed programme this year, the Fringe are exploring alternatives.

Discover more about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe


Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo:

Has announced the cancellation of its 2021 show, returning to the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade from 5th – 27th August 2022.

Discover more about The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo


Edinburgh International Book Festival:

14 to 30 August 2021

Edinburgh International Book Festival Reader

Organisers of the EIBF have confirmed that this year’s Festival will take place from the beautiful 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 06 July, 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.

Discover more about the Edinburgh International Book Festival


Edinburgh International Film Festival:

18- 25 August 2021

St Andrew Film

Returning in a new and innovative form this summer, EIFF will include physical screenings and events indoors in Filmhouse Cinema and outdoors with Film Fest in the City in St Andrew Square.

The festival will also be available to audiences across the UK through its online platform, Filmhouse at Home, where alongside the films, viewers can access Q&As and hear first-hand the insights, experiences and passions of directors, filmmakers and actors.

Discover more about Edinburgh International Film Festival>


October 2021

Scottish International Storytelling Festival:

15 to 31 October 2021

Ossian Supper Credit Scottish International Storytelling Festival

(Image Credit: Scottish International Storytelling Festival)

Programme announcements will be made later in the year.

Discover more about The Scottish International Storytelling Festival>


December 2021

Edinburgh's Hogmanay

The online edition of the 2020/21 programme has now finished - you can watch and read all about it here> 

 Hogmanay Fireworks Cr Lloyd Smith

 (image Credit: Lloyd Smith)

The team are taking a well-earned break before they turn their attention to the programme which traditionally commences on 30th December.