Edinburgh Past And Present - The Edinburgh Website
Starting in mid December and ending in early January, this festival is a series of events. In East Princes Street Gardens there is a big wheel and side shows as well as a skating rink and a German Xmas Market.
Also at this time there is a Torchlight Procession, Firework Displays from Seven Hills, Street Theatre, Concerts and Fun Runs amongst others. On Hogmanay itself there is a big party in Princes Street with bands playing in the gardens and a firework display from the Castle. This is ticket only.
On New Years Day there is the Loony Dook at South Queensferry where people brave the elements to take a dip in the sea. http://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/
For ten days in early April there are various events and talks around the city all in the name of science. Most are suitable for children. In the past there have been studies into ghosts, talks at the Observatory and tours of Edinburgh's Hills. http://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/
The Beltane is an ancient pagan festival that takes place on Calton Hill every April 30th to mark the coming of summer. It was resurrected in 1988 by a group of enthusiasts including the music group - Test Dept. Since then it has grown into a very large and popular night with around 8000 people on the hill. It starts late at night with drummers,fire and painted blue, green or red people in loin cloths. There are several ceremonies which culminate in the crowning of the Queen of the May at midnight. http://www.beltane.org/
EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL
Moved from August to June in 2008 this is the longest running film festival in the world (1947). There are many premiers and in 2004 there were 418 films from 45 countries. 334 filmmakers attended, 400 members of the press and 670 industry delegates so it's quite important! http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/
This takes place in Edinburgh at the end of June and has used different routes over the years. It used to include Princes Street (as per photo taken in 2005) and the Mound but no longer. Now it goes up the Royal Mile and ends in Bristo Square where there are acts on in the square itself and the Student union has stalls, food, bars and dancing There are various events held afterwards in the bars and clubs.
During August there is the world's largest arts festival. There is the official Festival started in 1947 and also the now much larger Fringe. There are hundreds of performances in venues right across the city from plays to music, comedy to art and photographic displays. The population doubles and the city buzzes for 3 weeks. You can see excerpts from shows performed in the High street along with street theatre. There is also Fringe Sunday in the Meadows where performances can be seen and on the last day of the official Festival is the spectacular free firework display from the Castle accompanied by a classical concert in the Gardens. http://www.edfringe.com/ http://www.eif.co.uk/
INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
Held at various venues throughout the city centre during the first week in August. There is a Mardi Gras type event in the Grassmarket and a concert in Princes Street Gardens. http://www.edinburghjazzfestival.co.uk/
EDINBURGH BOOK FESTIVAL
Coinciding with the Arts festival is the book festival which takes place in the last half of August. There are discussions, lectures, book readings and workshops all taking place in Charlotte Square Gardens. http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/
On the first weekend of August, Edinburgh hosts Scotland's largest intercultural festival now at Leith Links. There is music, colour, dance, art, fashion and food mainly from Asia. The festival was started in 1995 by members of Edinburgh's Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian communities. http://www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk/
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL MAGIC FESTIVAL
Founded in 2010 this festival brings live magic shows back to the public at various venues in the city centre. There is classic magic, special events, variety, comedy and also magic workshops. It takes place in early July. http://www.magicfest.co.uk/
The winter equivalent of the summer's Beltane, this festival takes place on Halloween. There is a procession from the Castle to The Mound where a ritual performance takes place and winter takes over. There are drums and dancing, fire and fireworks. The costumes of the participants are excellent and you are hissed at while they pass. The show can be awesome.
ABBEYHILL COLONY OF ARTISTS
The Colony of Artists event was founded in 2005 and brought creatives in the area together for the first ever event of its kind in Edinburgh. It has grown year by year and continues to be an exciting gathering of some of the most progressive artists in the area and beyond. Over two days at the end of September, people open up their homes to exhibit work giving visitors the opportunity to experience individual pieces and performances in a very personal setting. There's lots to experience from sculpture, oil painting and photography to watercolour, illustration and music. http://www.colony-of-artists.com/
Takes place on the first weekend in June on The Meadows! It has been going since 1974 and there's a funfair, stalls selling almost everything, information and a stage for local bands to play. There's also performance areas, sports tournaments and a kids space even a dog show. Basically lots of things that will change from year to year.
Founded in 2004 to showcase a programme of visual arts, events and exhibitions supporting established and new international artists. It takes place at various city venues during the month of August. http://www.edinburghartfestival.com/
ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO
The Tattoo takes place every August on the Castle Esplanade with musicians, pipers, drummers, singers and dancers against a spectacular background with lighting and fireworks. Performers come from all corners of the world and the Tattoo has been entertaining people since 1950. http://www.edintattoo.co.uk/