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UK: Edinburgh’s Festivals Student Guide

UK: Edinburgh’s Festivals Student Guide
Created By: Ola Elwassifyon 19 June, 2018

It is considered one of the most historic and architecturally beautiful cities in the world; Edinburgh, rest assured, has a festival for every interest, as the city’s festive schedule is buzzing all year round. Whether you are a bookworm, art-junkie or obsessed with music, Edinburgh has a festival just for you.

This June, the annual fortnight Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) will be taking place, presenting both the UK and international films in all genres and lengths along with variously-themed retrospectives. EIFF mainly is in Edinburgh Filmhouse; however, it uses other cinemas and venues across the city, including Fountain park Cineworld, Edinburgh Festival Theatre and the Odeon.

Edinburgh galleries and art projects will be presented in the annual Edinburgh Annuale visual art festival, particularly the ones stimulating local activities. The first Edinburgh Annuale took place in August 2004 and it included numerous exhibitions; however, over the years, it has grown to include publication launches, live events, and more exhibitions.

In July, the Edinburgh International Magic Festival, which is also known as MagicFest, takes place in the month's first week. It is an Edinburgh Festival that was founded in 2010 and was held annually ever since. Summerhall and the Royal Lyceum Theatre are the main venues; however, it took place before at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the Royal Scots Club, The Pleasance, The Stand Comedy Club, the Edinburgh Filmhouse and Camera Obscura.

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival runs from the 13th – 22nd July. It presents 400+ performances from around the globe showcasing their street music, vibrant costumes, circus, street theatre and dance. It will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018, featuring both international and Scottish acts throughout 10 days, across a range of venues, including the Jazz Bar, Festival Theatre and the famous George Square Spiegeltent.

August is vibrant and jam-packed with things to do in Edinburgh, witnessing the most thriving festivals compared to all the other months of the year. Visual art has always occupied a large part of Edinburgh's cultural scene and as a result, the Edinburgh Art Festival was added to the city’s jammed schedule in 2004. It evolved into gathering the city’s leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces together, featuring around 45 exhibitions, attracting 300,000 art lovers, making it the UK’s largest annual festival of visual art. It takes place from 26th of July till 26th of August presenting some of the most important works from the 20th century and other salient historical manoeuvres at various venues all around the city centre.

There is also the annual Edinburgh International Festival which extends throughout three weeks in August, bringing top-notch performers of music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe. It hosts a series of visual art exhibitions, talks and workshops at numerous venues, including The Edinburgh Playhouse, Usher Hall, Festival Theatre, Kings Theatre, The Queen’s Hall, Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Hub.

August cannot be mentioned without highlighting the world’s largest arts festival Edinburgh Festival Fringe or simply The Fringe. In 2017, it extended 25 days, featuring thousands of performances in 300 venues ranging from grand theatres to small basements. In 2018, the festival will be on from the 3rd till the 27th of August. Any type of performance is welcomed to participate in this festival and the official Fringe Programme categorizes shows into theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. Unquestionably, this is the biggest arts festival in the world and if you are studying in Edinburgh, it is a must-attend festival; every wall and fence will have flyers and posters and street performers will be popping up everywhere.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) is emphatically enticing for literary lovers and to both Edinburgh residents and visitors. Over 800 writers from around the globe share their knowledge, perspectives, and expertise at over 700 events that are meant to motivate, delight and educate. Piles of books will be available to be discussed, read and purchased. You cannot miss “meet the author”events in Charlotte Square in the West End. EIBF targets bibliophiles and avid readers, offering free craft activities and imaginative authors’ events. Each year it takes place in the last three weeks of August.

One would think that August now is jammed enough, but this city never seizes to surprise its inhabitants. Edinburgh Mela, the annual multi-cultural festival is scheduled in August as well. Melas are celebrated with South Asian culture, music, dance, theatre, fashion, food and stalls. October has Africa in Motion (AiM) which is an annual African film festival and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay takes place in December with its Scottish celebrations of the New Year take place.

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