It is sometimes mistaken that the Edinburgh Festival is just one festival. It is instead a series of arts and cultural festivals that take place in Edinburgh in August every year.
At any rate, the Edinburgh Festival in the largest cultural event in the world, reaching back to 1947, when the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) was founded to promote peace in the years following World War II. That year, eight theatrical companies “gatecrashed” the international festival by organising their own event, which became the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (EFF), also called the Edinburgh Fringe, or the Fringe. The EIF and the Fringe are separate organisations and run separate programmes each summer.
There are literally dozens of festivals that are part of the Edinburgh Festival. The two main ones, of course, are the EIF and the Fringe. The EIF is the original “official” festival that focuses on classical and contemporary theatre, opera, music, dance, visual aids, talks, and workshops. The Fringe started off as a small-scale “fringe” event to the EIF, but is currently the largest festival in the world. It focuses on theatre, comedy, music, musicals, dance, and children’s shows—acts that wouldn’t normally be considered for the EIF.
Other festivals include the following: the Edinburgh International Film Festival, begun in 1947; the Edinburg Military Tattoo (1950); the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (1978); the Edinburgh International Book Festival (1983); the Edinburgh Mela (1995), which celebrates the city’s South Asian communities; the Edinburgh International Internet Festival (1999), the Edinburgh Art Festival (2004), the Edinburgh Annuale (2004), which focuses on contemporary art, the Edinburgh Comedy Festival (2008); and the West Port Book Festival (2008), a free book festival based around secondhand bookshops in the West Port area.
If you’re looking to visit Edinburgh to see any elements of any of the festivals throughout August, and need a hotel to stay in, check out Jurys Inns range of hotels in Edinburgh.