Here in the capital we are very proud of all our festivals.
There really is something for everybody and now it is not just in August that you can find something to entertain you that is called a festival.
There is classical music, theatre, comedy, circus, sports and much, much more!
We hope this guide will help you plan your year whether you are a resident or a visitor. All of our Festival articles can be found here.
We run a set of previews for all the Fringe shows we can find out about and we publish reviews of those we actually go and see.
If you would like to be a reviewer for The Edinburgh Reporter then get in touch here.
20 -28 February 2016
This is an annual festival celebrating culture, community and global citizenship. It is a collaboration between University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh University Students Association.
Events are open to students, staff and members of the public.
Audacious Women Festival
From 21 – 29 Feb 2016, the Audacious Women Festival marks its first ever edition, a chance to break down personal, political or institutional barriers, and to celebrate audacious women everywhere. The programme includes an array of events, exhibitions and workshops around Edinburgh, including four fantastic performances here at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
Amongst the festival’s highlights is Bold Daughters on Thu 25 Feb, in which storyteller Alice Fernbank shares folktales of women, girls, goddesses and fairies, all engaging their wit and wisdom for a freer, fuller and happier life. Accompanied by musicians Nicky Haire and Charlie Menzies, Alice will take us on a journey through burning forests, crashing oceans and into the realms of the Gods – a must for anyone with an interest in folklore!
Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016
26 March 2016 to 10 April 2016
27 April to 8 May 2016
Tickets go on sale in the middle of March for the festival which comprises music, storytelling, drama and film. Inspired by May Day and Beltane, this is a showcase of Celtic arts and cultural traditions with a contemporary spin.
28 May 2016 to 5 June 2016
Look at the What’s On page here.
The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling
9 June 2016 to 19 June 2016
This is a great event which is still in its infancy, but which has been described as one of the country’s best cycling events by The Guardian and Total Women’s Cycling.
They have evenings of talks, films and then there is the Brompton fold up event (against the clock!).
It aims to show off all aspects of the bicycle, to challenge public perceptions of what it is and put Edinburgh in the forefront of cycling cities. There are rides and family events among the extensive programme.
We are usually favoured by advance notice of the events which form the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling (and we hope it will be the same this year…..)
Edinburgh International Film Festival
15 June 2016 to 26 June 2016
This year the film festival will present the UK Premiere of Steven Spielberg’s legendary E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, accompanied by John Williams’ iconic score performed live by the RSNO on Saturday 25 June 2016 at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival 1-8 July 2016
MagicFest brings the best of Scottish magic to Edinburgh for a whole week. Read more here.
Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
15 July 2016 to 24 July 2016
This year the Average White Band are set to make a special visit to Edinburgh on 24 July 2016 at the Festival Theatre.
Edinburgh Art Festival
28 July 2016 to 28 August 2016
This year the focal point of the Edinburgh Art Festival will be in Leith where Ciara Philips a Turner Prize nominee will produce a Dazzle Ship – and yes this will be a whole floating ship! The MV Fingal is a former Northern Lighthouse vessel and she will be decorated by the artist.
The Edinburgh Art Festival is the biggest annual festival of visual art in the UK.
Edinburgh International Festival
5 August 2016 to 29 August 2016
Starring world renowned mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli in the title role, Patrice Caurier’s and Moshe Leiser’s staging of Norma will open the Festival’s opera programme with three performances at the Festival Theatre from 5 – 9 August 2016.
Tickets are already on sale, although there are probably no tickets left for Alan Cumming’s show at The Hub where he is in residence for three whole weeks singing his Sappy Songs.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
5 August 2016 to 29 August 2016
There is nothing quite like the Fringe. You need stamina, a couple of quid in your pocket and an open mind. One minute you will have an hour of Tubular Bells performed by two young very fit musicians, and the next you will watch circus in a Spiegeltent, or simply be accosted by a guy in the street breathing fire. It is magic!
Here is a flavour from the Meet the Media event
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
5 August 2016 to 27 August 2016
Billed as the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ it probably is. This is as remote from the Fringe as you could get. Where the Fringe is haphazard, the Tattoo, staged on the Castle Esplanade is timed to precision. You can set your clocks by the fireworks display at the end (usually about a minute or two from 10.40pm) and it is something everyone should try to go and see at least once. The performers and the theme change each year, so you could go every year if you can get your hands on a ticket.
We were delighted to be on the esplanade at the press preview show in 2015. Got a bit up close and personal with a piper!
Edinburgh International Book Festival
13 August 2016 to 29 August 2016
This is the only time in the whole year that Charlotte Square Garden is open to the public, and they make very good use of it during the Book Festival!
There are so many authors, so many events and if you really find it impossible to choose then you can just hang out in the garden and get some tickets for sold-out events which become available at the last minute. Mingle with the famous and be inspired and entertained.
We love rubbing shoulders with authors and press in the Press Yurt (not just any old tent you know….) and we are sure you will find something to please you here no matter what age you are. The full programme is now available here.
Our photographer John Preece goes a bit mad with his camera:
27 August 2016 to 28 August 2016
This is the biggest world music festival with dance, great food and entertainment for the family thrown in for good measure. Sadly afflicted by the weather in recent years they will be dancing to the Sun Gods to ensure a great time in 2016.
Balerno Music Festival 23 September to 9 October 2016
The Pentland Hills come alive with the sound of music……
Scottish International Storytelling Festival
21 October to 30 October 2016
Based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the High Street where they serve the best soup in Edinburgh in our opinion, this is a wonderful festival, and it is not in August!
Samhuinn Fire Festival 31 October 2016
Here is what to expect!
A full six weeks of Christmasness from Light Night in November which opens the festival with a bang or two (we do like fireworks in Edinburgh!) until the first few days of the New Year.
Only some of the highlights are: The Christmas Wheel in Princes Street Gardens, the Star Flyer next to the Scott Monument, the European Market, mulled wine, the Spiegeltent and for the first time last year the Virgin Money Street of Light which was so popular.
From 30 January 2016
This is the best place in the world you can be to see the old year out and usher in the new.
There is so much to do. Nothing closes. There are fireworks, dancing, music, a torchlight procession and free entertainment on New Year’s Day. Where would you rather be? Edinburgh has now become one of the iconic sights shown on TV screens around the world at New Year.
— Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (@edhogmanay) February 10, 2016
There are of course many other festivals held in Edinburgh throughout the year. If you feel we have missed an important one out then please send us your comments below or get in touch.