Edinburgh International Festival

Happy 70th Birthday to Edinburgh Festivals

The Pleasance Courtyard, EdinburghVisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (often just referred to as The Fringe) is the world's largest arts festival, which in 2016, featured 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues across 25 days!

The Edinburgh International Festival is an unrivalled celebration of the performing arts, featuring the finest performers and ensembles from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre for three weeks in August. Established as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, The Fringe also takes place annually in Scotland's capital each August, this year from the 4th till the 28th August.

The Fringe began in 1947 when eight groups arrived in the city, hoping to perform at the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival but they were refused entry. Rather than being discouraged, they went ahead and performed on the fringe of the Festival anyway and so the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was born. 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of this defiance by the eight groups of performers and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is now the largest arts festival in the world.

The Fringe is now a truly open access festival where no one is denied entry, making it the largest platform on earth for creative freedom.

The Royal Mile, EdinburghVisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved


This year, there's an expanded opera programme, featuring classic operas including Puccini's La Boheme and Verdi's Macbeth.

There's contemporary music from PJ Harvey, Benjamin Clementine, as well as a special collaboration from Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker with Chilly Gonzales.

Companies and ensembles include world-leading dance company Nederlands Dans Theater, the orchestra of Milan's world-renowned opera house LaScala Filarmonica della Scala, and a celebration of the music psychedelic-folk legends The Incredible String Band.

Theatre highlights include a co-production with The Old Vic, who performed at the very first festival in 1947, with a world premiere from one of the country's best-loved playwrights Alan Ayckbourn.

A diverse programme of comedy, theatre, dance and music has been unveiled to mark the 70th anniversary of the EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL.

Irvine Welsh, Judy Murray and Britain's Got Talent winner Tokio Myers also feature on the eclectic bill. For the first time a play will be staged at Hibernian Football Club. A Field of Our Own will explore the origins of the football club, which was set up by first and second generation immigrants in 1875.

Highlights include performances by comedians Ruby Wax, Sue Perkins, Sean Hughes, Daniel Sloss and Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens in her Fringe debut.

Performer on The Mound, EdinburghVisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

Clive Anderson will host a live incarnation of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Dave Johns, star of I Daniel Blake, returns to his comedy roots. For two weeks, Craig Ferguson, who fronted The Late Late Show in the US for 10 years, will host his radio show in front of a live audience.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh is behind two shows which feature in the programme, one of which, Creatives, is described as a darkly comic "pop-opera". Global politics is one of the themes of the festival, with Trumpageddon! , and Brexit The Musical, among the line up!

This is undoubtedly a very special year for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe as they celebrate their 70th birthday. With an eclectic line up of talent like this, August promises to be just as creative, dynamic and entertaining as ever - Many Happy Returns to the Edinburgh International Festivals!

Fireworks during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

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