What’s on in Edinburgh: August

The Fringe Festival logo 2014

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (1 -23 August)

This celebration comprises part of the Year of Homecoming, with the participation of hundreds of Commonwealth citizens. It promises “music, dance and precision display with the Massed Pipes and Drums, the Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, cultural troupes, singers and the poignant refrain of the Lone Piper against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle”. Performances occur on weekdays at 9pm and on Saturdays at 7.30pm and 10.30pm, with the later Saturday showings boasting an extended fireworks display (all displays dependent on suitable weather conditions), while shows between the 11th and 15th inclusive will be produced for BBC broadcast. Each performance lasts approximately 1 and a half hours, with doors opening 45 minutes beforehand and spectators required to be seated 15 minutes in advance of the show. Booking information can be found here.

Seating locations vary in price from £25 to £60 including VAT (plus a £2 surcharge on Saturdays). Tickets purchased online or via telephone incur a £5 booking fee per transaction. For further seating terms, see here. Photography is permitted during shows provided that it is not used for commercial gain and that flash is disabled.


Edinburgh Festival Fringe (1 -25 August)

August kicks off with the world’s largest arts festival, which sees famous and unknown performers from all over the globe converge on Scotland’s capital. The festival caters for all tastes in entertainment, encompassing everything from theatre to comedy and children’s shows; last year’s set a new world record for its scale, with over 45,000 performances of nearly 2900 shows. The size of the festival is partly owing to the inclusivity written into the constitution of The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, who support (but don’t manage) the festival, meaning that any and all performers can participate provided that they can find a venue to host them. Consequently, the programme is massive, but the Society endeavours to provide up-to-date listings on everything that’s happening on their ticketing website, as well as their iPhone and Android apps. If you’re not after something specific, you can find a compendium of free events here, while those of you who intend to crash the festival will find no shortage of unticketed entertainments either.


Edinburgh Foodies Festival (8-10 August)

The UK’s largest celebration of food and drink is to return to Edinburgh for a weekend of culinary showcases, gourmet eateries and specialist stalls at Inverleith Park. The festival will incorporate the best of both local and international food, while cookery workshops aimed at children will also feature. From 7pm each evening, live music and Fringe Festival shows will take to the stage, so that guests are regaled with entertainment as well as fine cuisine. A MasterChef Street Food Bus will also offer attendees street food dishes cooked by stars of the series in its purpose-built kitchen.

Adult tickets begin at £10 and kids under 12 go free. Edinburgh Tourist also provide a code for a 2-for-1 special offer. Tickets can be ordered here.

Source: Edinburgh Tourist


Edinburgh International Festival (8 – 31 August)

This festival endorses the restorative power of the arts by uniting artists from all over the world. Its programme includes music, opera, dance, theatre, and talks and workshops, which will be hosted in venues across the city. Some performances will explore the tension between war and peace in commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the First World War, as well as the festival’s own inception in the aftermath of the Second World War.

The organisers offer a comprehensive and generous range of concessions, details of which are available here. Box Office contact information can be found on the footer of the main website.


Edinburgh International Book Festival (9-25 August)

The world’s largest festival of its kind, the EIBF is to host 800 events involving over 750 authors this year, and is open to people of all ages. The festival offers the opportunity for audiences to meet authors and engage in debate on key world issues (including Scotland’s imminent independence referendum). Its Children’s Programme has become the leading literary event for both young people and children’s authors and illustrators alike.

The festival takes place in Charlotte Square Gardens, part of the New Town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens are usually private, but are opened to the public and tented for the duration of the festival, which sees over 200,000 visitors. Events last 1 hour, unless otherwise specified on their respective listings, and catering will be available on the premises.

EIBF also runs its own bookselling operation via two large onsite bookshops, all proceeds from which are invested back into the running of the not-for-profit festival.

Event listings can be found here, and booking information here (a range of concessionary tickets are available).


Festival of Politics (15-17 August)

This forum for the Scottish political scene is celebrating its 10th year with a programme focusing on the looming independence referendum. Held in the Scottish Parliament Building, the festival sees experts on a wide range of fields engage in balanced debate on key issues. Catering and entertainment will be available on the premises in the Festival Café Bar.

Tickets can be booked online up to 2 hours before each event via the festival’s event guide; some are free, with most paid events costing £5 (£3.50 concessionary rate, which applies to children between 5 and 16, people aged 60 and above, students, the unemployed, and disabled citizens; carers accompanying the latter are admitted free of charge). A limited number will also be available to book in person on the premises. Unallocated tickets may be available from the Festival Desk in the Café Bar on the day of their respective event.


The Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (21 – 23 August)

If you’re involved in the television industry or have aspirations for a career therein, this event offers essential networking and professional development opportunities with moguls, executives and representatives from leading media agencies. The festival, hosted at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, boasts an attendance in excess of 2000 delegates. Concessionary rates are available, and passes can be purchased here.


The Edinburgh Mela (29 – 31 August)

Celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the Edinburgh Mela brings international music, dance, fashion, and food to the city in a 3-day carnival held at Leith Links. In addition to a variety of performances by top artists, the Global Food Village will showcase exquisite international cuisine; the fashion show will exhibit the latest style trends from around the world; a Mela marketplace will offer a diverse selection of wares; and kids will find plenty to keep themselves amused in the Mela Kidzone, which this year will assume an animal theme.

Tickets for the opening performance of The King of Ghosts (Friday 29th August at 7.30pm) cost £15 full-price and £12 for concessions, and can be booked here. Adult entry on Saturday and Sunday costs £4 each day and allows access to all events that day, while 12-year-olds and under get free admission. Early booking is encouraged to avoid queues.


This concludes our roundup of the main events scheduled for August in Edinburgh. We’ll provide reminders and ongoing coverage of several of these events on our Facebook and Twitter channels, so follow our accounts to avoid missing out. Finally, let us know what you’re planning to see and why using the comments function, and stay tuned to this blog for future entries in the series and more besides.


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