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 outdoor pavilions - Edinburgh Park, the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad and Edinburgh Academy’s junior school in the Inverleith area. Featuring covered concert stages and socially distanced seating to create a beautiful setting, these areas will allow audiences to safely enjoy live music, opera and theatre once more.

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)

The single greatest celebration of arts and culture on the planet, shows at this year's festival will fall into three broad formats:

1. Live in-person performances at various outdoor and indoor venues that comply with City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Government covid-related regulations.

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 world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe street events will also return in 2021 with a scaled-back programme of live performances. Events will run daily from 11:30 until 20:30 in the High Street’s designated Fringe Safe Street Performance Area, West Parliament Square.  

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

A stellar line-up of over 300 writers, artists and thinkers from around the globe come together this August to share their ideas and stories for a changing world. 

In this exciting new chapter for the Book Festival, a wide range of the live-streamed events will also have in-person audiences at the Festival's new home, the University of Edinburgh's Edinburgh College of Art.

Around half of participants will appear in person in Edinburgh, while others join digitally from their homes around the world. Tickets for socially-distanced in-person events went on sale on 22 July and more than 250 events for adults, children and families online will all be available to watch on a Pay What You Can basis.

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.

This special programme of in-person and digital screenings includes 31 new features and 73 shorts – with 18 marking their world and 3 international premieres at the Festival – and with 50% of the new features in the EIFF 2021 programme from a female director or co-director. 

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)

Stories and songs are vital for human survival. They carry our emotions, memories and values. They bind us together as families, communities and a nation, especially through tough times. The Scottish International Storytelling Festival will continue to channel that flow with an increased focus on wellbeing in the year of Covid-19.

The 2020 Festival took place not in packed theatres, but through live and pre-recorded broadcast events, and through small-scale safely distanced person-to-person events, including ones in outdoor locations.

2021 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.