Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Edinburgh International Festival

Founded in 1947 the Edinburgh International Festival is the famous annual event of performing arts taking place in Edinburgh for the month of August. Unlike the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the International Festival is by invitation only from the Festival Director.

The Edinburgh International Festival brings top class performers of music especially classical music, theatre, opera and dance from around the world to perform. 

Edinburgh International Festival 2018 Highlights

The 2018 programme features a mix of some of the very best contemporary artists and ensembles from across world. The event welcomes 2,750 artists from 31 nations to perform in Scotland’s capital city and attracts visitors from all over the world, with audiences expected to travel from over 80 nations to be part of Edinburgh’s global celebration of culture. 

Artists include celebrated classical musicians with conductor SirSimon Rattle, soprano Christine Goerke and violinist Nicola Benedetti, leading UK choreographers Akram Khan and Wayne McGregor, theatre makers Peter Brook, Katie Mitchell and Geoff Sobelle, American musicians and singer-songwriters St. Vincent and John Grant, actors Anna Deveare Smith and Irène Jacob, writers David Greig, Alice Birch and Édouard Louis, and contemporary Scottish musicians from Mogwai to King Creosote and special projects with ensembles including the Dunedin Consort and the GRIT Orchestra.

Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams

3 August 2018, 10.30pm | Festival Square

The 2018 International Festival begins with a free, outdoor performance celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People and marking the centenary of the end of the Great War. 

Inspired by communications found in the Imperial War Museum which document the experience of young soldiers at the end of the War, the piece explores ideas of propaganda, censorship and technology, and their startling resonance across 100 years to the present day. Free tickets are available to book now. 

Anna Meredith

Light on the Shore with Edinburgh Gin Seaside

9 - 25 August 2018 | Leith Theatre

For the first time in thirty years, the International Festival returns to Leith Theatre for a special season called Light on the Shore, which celebrates the remarkable variety and collaborative nature of Scottish popular music. 

Light on the Shore is a unique season of concerts and events drawing together bands, orchestral ensembles, curators and festival organisers at the Leith Theatre, recently described by one critic described as, ‘the best live music venue in Scotland’. Find out more on the Edinburgh International Festival website. 

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

27 August 2018, 9.00pm | Princes Street Gardens

The 2018 Edinburgh International Festival Virgin Money Fireworks Concert will take place on Monday 27 August in Princes Street Gardens at 9pm, bringing together compelling music from the Scottish Chamber Orchesta and spectacular pyrotechnics against the mighty backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. The concert will last approximately 1 hour. 

Tickets are now available for the concert in the gardens from the Edinburgh International Festival website, however the fireworks can also be seen from various vantage points across the city.

Find out what else is on in Edinburgh this month >

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