Edinburgh International Festival is usually held for three weeks during the month of August. It was founded in 1947 to encourage “the flowering of the human spirit” following the Second World War, and was the first festival of its kind, also meeting its other aims of establishing a new, major source of tourist revenue for Edinburgh. Since that time, slowly but surely, Edinburgh has gained a reputation as “The Festival City”, playing gracious host to twelve major annual events, and some smaller ones too!
Each year’s events provide the festival-goer with unforgettable experiences via performances by some of the greatest performers in the field of international opera, dance, visual art, theatre and music. Unlike the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival’s artists all appear by invitation of the Festival Director, giving the Festival itself ultimate control of its content. With events set in not just the city’s six major venues, but also in other more unconventional and smaller performance spaces, the entire atmosphere of the city changes during this three week cultural high. There is an Edinburgh International Festival archive held within the National Library of Scotland, and previous programmes are also available within Edinburgh’s Central Library.
In 1999, The Hub was opened. It is the first permanent home of the Edinburgh International Festival, and this historic listed building has been developed artistically, enabling it to move on from its past as The Highland Tolbooth. Now, enhanced with contemporary visual arts, the building is artistically firmly placed at the heart of the festival.
The finale to the programme, a massive fireworks display and concert at the Ross Theatre and Princes Street Gardens is a major highlight and fitting conclusion to the festival, attracting major crowds, picnickers and music fans. But Inverleith Park, one mile North of the city’s centre is also a great location from which to view the fireworks and hear the music. Family entertainment is provided and a big screen installed with live link from the Ross Theatre.