What is the Edinburgh International Festival?

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 several times at the festival.

In 2024, the Edinburgh International Festival will take place from 2 to 25 August celebrating the theme of ‘Rituals That Unite Us’.

The theme will focus on the need for reconciliation and the value of shared experiences in a programme of live music, opera, theatre and dance that marks the traditions and festivities that bring us together.

Affordability at the Edinburgh International Festival 

In line with our strong belief in fairness, the Edinburgh International Festival has a range of ticket deals and concessions available including multibuy options, group bookings and a limited number of £10 tickets.

Find out more on the Edinburgh International Festival site

What is the history of the 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 standard, with the director inviting the best artists in the world to perform.

The idea behind the International Festival came from Rudolf Bing, a Jewish refugee of the Nazi regime. He created an event alongside civic and artistic leaders to cut across political boundaries and celebrate performing arts in Edinburgh.

Today, the International Festival continues to create a wide breadth of thrilling cultural experiences for all who attend. The festival offers year-round pathways for people to enjoy and participate in performances as well as encouraging emerging artists and rising stars.

Explore Edinburgh’s Summer Festivals

Visit the Edinburgh International Festival's website