Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Edinburgh International Festival

The one that started it all off – make sure to see some of the fantastic work in the Edinburgh International Festival.

[Image credit: Stuart Armitt]



2-26 August 2019

Since 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival has brought powerful and significant work to delight and challenge the capital’s residents and visitors. Packed into just over 3 weeks of intense cultural opportunity are superb examples of artistic expression from around the world, with performances of top class opera, theatre, dance and classical music.

Experience some of Edinburgh’s grandest venues, and to complement the performances on offer, a range of participatory events, talks, screenings and conversations with the artists themselves.

About the Edinburgh International Festival

You could argue that Edinburgh International Festival was the one that started it all. In 1947, Rudolf Bing (at the time General Manager of the Glyndebourne Opera), Henry Harvey Wood from the British Council and leaders from Edinburgh banded together to collate a festival programme of music and drama. It established its reputation as a world class cultural event, and is still going strong almost seventy years later. 

From the beginning, the organisers of the Edinburgh International Festival encouraged artists not part of the official programme to come to Edinburgh and perform. It was from these performances that The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was born, and even more diverse festivals followed. Now, Edinburgh is the proud host to twelve major festivals and a year long schedule - making this truly the festival city! 

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

Festival Fireworks Concert Cr Stuart Armitt

[Image credit: Stuart Armitt]

The grand finale of the Edinburgh International Festival is a longstanding favourite of locals and visitors alike, with hundreds gathering in Princes Street Gardens to enjoy a live classical music performance accompanied by expertly choreographed fireworks shooting from the castle ramparts above.

For those unable to secure tickets for the gardens themselves, the fireworks are visible from range of vantage points throughout the city. With the concert broadcast live on local radio, the spectacular combination of fine music and awe inspiring fireworks is enjoyed by thousands more than can possibly be there close up. Great spots to enjoy the show include Inverleith Park (some distance away to the north of the city centre but with a fabulous view of the castle) and Calton Hill, overlooking the city centre and the castle from the east.

To round off the Edinburgh International Festival and the summer festivals season as a whole, the fireworks display is a truly phenomenal sight and a festival must.

Can't make it to Edinburgh for 2019? See the provisional future dates of the Edinburgh International Festival below: 

2020: 7-31 August

For more information, to view the full programme, and to book tickets, please visit the Edinburgh International Festival website,