The Edinburgh International Festival is the leading event in Scotland's cultural calendar and turns the capital city into the world's cultural hotspot every August.

In 2023 Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti was the first female Festival Director, who has also performed a number of times at the festival.

Last year's festival explored three themes: Community over chaos, inspired by individuals who have dedicated their lives to bringing communities together; Hope in the face of adversity, inspired by the many incredible artworks that have emerged from times of intense struggle; and A perspective that’s not one’s own, exploring how differently each person sees the world and asking how we can develop a deeper culture of listening and increase our tolerance of each other.

From 2-25 August there will be nearly 300 events spanning music, theatre, dance and comedy featuring performers from 48 countries.

The History of Edinburgh International Festival

Since 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival has attracted the biggest stars of stage and concert halls, with luminaries including renowned opera singers Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti, actor Sir Ian McKellen, dancer Margo Fonteyn, and violinist Yehudi Menuhin.

Designed to bring people together and create a festival spirit through great art after World War II, the Edinburgh International Festival has always aimed to present a programme of classical music, opera, theatre and dance of the highest possible standard, with the director inviting the best artists in the world to perform. It continues to create a wide breadth of thrilling cultural experiences for all who attend.

Explore Edinburgh’s Summer Festivals with us this year