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Edinburgh Festival (Edinburgh International Festival)

August 7 - August 29

Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh Festival, or Edinburgh International Festival, kicks off on 7 August, 2021. This year’s programme features some of the best and emerging contemporary artists from around the world.

In order to ensure that live performances can go ahead, events will be staged in bespoke outdoor pavilions across Edinburgh, such as Edinburgh Park and the Old College Quad of the University of Edinburgh.

Full details of the 2021 programme – from opera to theatre and contemporary music – will be announced on 2 June. Tickets will go on sale to the public on 11 June.

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director at Edinburgh International Festival said, “We are delighted to announce that in August 2021 the Edinburgh International Festival will return to live performance. While there are still uncertainties ahead, we are confident that this programme will give us the very best chance of delivering a season of live performance from 7 – 29 August.”

2019 EIF

Below are details of the 2019 Festival, these will be updated when the 2021 programme is announced.

Highlights will include a performance of Peter Gynt in a re-invention of the Ibsen classic by David Hare, Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin performed by the Komische Oper Berlin, Yang Liping’s version of the Stravinsky masterpiece Rite of Spring, Stephen Fry performing at the festival for the first time in Mythos: A Trilogy, and Sir Ian McKellen marking his 80th birthday by discussing the key points in his illustrious career.

Edinburgh Festival Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen at the Assembly Hall from 22 to 25 August, c. Oliver Rosser, Feast Creative

Classical Music buffs can enjoy performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel, as well as the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and concerts featuring Long Yu, Jeremy Denk, Colin Currie, Alisa Weilerstein and The Sixteen.

From the world of opera, in addition to Eugene Onegin, Scottish opera will present Breaking the Waves, a contemporary opera from Missy Mazzoli. There will also be a rendition of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung featuring Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde. Iestyn Davies will perform in a version of Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck

For a more modern take on music, tune into Anna Calvi, former Pulp icon Jarvis Cocker, Neneh Cherry and Scotland’s Alt-Rock classic Teenage Fanclub.

Teenage Fanclub Edinburgh International Festival
Teenage Fanclub at the Leith Theatre on 16 August 2019

Edinburgh Festival theatre will include International Theater Amsterdam in a contemporary version of Oedipus directed by Robert Icke, as well as You Are Here, a series of five plays, including a premier of Jackie Kay’s novel Red Dust Road.

As for dance, the Scottish Ballet will premier The Crucible choreographed by Helen Pickett from the Arthur Miller classic play.

There will also be a series of immersive experiences, such as a Night Walk for Edinburgh by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller where you are guided through the Old Town of Edinburgh by film.

The Festival is not the only show in town in August, read about the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.

The Edinburgh International Festival 2019 concludes with a spectacular firework display on 26 August, with  fireworks illuminating the skies against Edinburgh Castle, to the music of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

The Crucible | Scottish Ballet | Edinburgh International Festival | 3-5 Aug 2019 | Photographer Nicola Selby
The Crucible performed by the Scottish Ballet on 3 to 5 August, 2019, c. Nicola Selby

Edinburgh Festival Dates

The Edinburgh Festival 2021 runs from 7 to 29 August.

Edinburgh International Festival Tickets

You can purchase tickets online at or by telephone at +44 (0)131 473 2000. Alternatively, buy tickets from the box office at the Hub (for address see below), which is open from 9am to 7.30pm. All booking information can be found here.

Edinburgh Festival Programme

A full programme is available from the website.

For a full list of Events and Festivals in the UK and elsewhere in August and beyond, click here.

Edinburgh Festival 2019 Address

The Hub on Castlehill, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Festival Accommodation

Accommodation in Edinburgh during August fills up rapidly. Enter your dates in our flight and hotel comparison engine to search hundreds of sites for the best deals:

Cover photo: Ballet Dancer Eve Mutso celebrates the 2019 launch event – La Phil at Tynecastle.



August 7
August 29
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Edinburgh Festival The Hub
Edinburgh,EH1 2NEUnited Kingdom
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