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What’s On in Edinburgh August 2012

August in Edinburgh is buzzing with activity. All sorts of bars, eateries and venues pop up for the festival making the city full of surprises for even the experienced Edinburgh traveler. Great places to visit for a festival atmosphere are in abundance but here, from a locals perspective, are some of the best.

Festival Favourites

The Pleasance courtyard is always a lively venue with bars and outdoor seating.  It looks magical in the evening with fairy lights and the obligatory umbrellas in case of rain. With bustling bars and sizzling BBQs this is a great place to get into the festival spirit with predominantly comedy venues surrounding the courtyard and box office for last minute bookings.


The Underbelly at the Cowgate is a series of small, cellar-like rooms that open only during the festival becoming bars and stages. The vaulted rooms are perfect for a more intimate festival experience with smaller shows and certainly is one of the more unique venues.


Assembly George Square is another festival favorite. Set within George Square, the quiet park in the centre of the university. This venue sits under the trees and can be a bustling oasis on a hot summer day. Of course the historic Royal Mile makes for one of the best festival venues with many street performances that are free to watch. For more information on the performances and shows it is best to check and book online at the festival’s various websites. Remember it’s not just about the Edinburgh Fringe and International festivals. All festivals throughout August are listed below:

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

(3 - 27 August 2012) www.edfringe.com

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city. With more than 2500 different shows, if you can't find something exciting to see then you're not looking hard enough. The festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions and events. For the full list of performances, times and booking visit the website.

Edinburgh International Festival

(9 August - 2 September) www.eif.co.uk
Where the fringe provides the opportunity to see some up and coming stars, the International Festival brings in the established professionals. Edinburgh's six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best classical music, theatre, opera, dance and visual art from around the globe. For the full list of performances, times and booking visit the website.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

(11 - 27 August 2012) www.edbookfest.co.uk
This year's Book Festival will run from 11 to 27 August. They welcome over 800 authors in over 750 events each year including novelists, poets, scientists, philosophers, sportsmen, illustrators, graphic artists, historians, musicians, biographers, environmentalists, economists, Nobel and Booker prize-winners and many more besides, bringing the readers and writers together for entertainment, discussion and pure inspiration. There will be something suitable for all ages and tastes within the lovely bright and leafy Charlotte Square Gardens. For the full program and booking visit the website.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

(25 - 26 August 2012) www.edintattoo.co.uk
The Tattoo is in it’s 62nd year and promises to be an extra special event for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year. Set on the Castle Esplanade with Edinburgh Castle as a stunning backdrop, watch a spectacular line-up of nearly 1000 performers including hundreds of musicians, pipers, drummers, singers and dancers, as well as some of the World's most sensational percussion groups. For tickets and more information see the website.

Edinburgh Foodies Festival

(10-12 August 2012) www.foodiesfestival.com
Away from the hustle of the other festivals, Inverleith Park plays host to this mouthwatering showcase of great food and drink.  Michelin starred chef Jeff Bland from The Balmoral will be cooking up a storm, joining him in the Chef's Theatre, will be Mattia Camorani from Hotel Missoni and Graeme Pallister from 63 Tay St.

Norman Musa will be bringing his magical Malaysian cook school on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday The Edinburgh School of Food and Wine will be hosting the Children's Cookery Theatre. As well as the exciting cookery demonstrations, visitors can sample some great local Scottish produce from the producers market. A must for every foodie and a great escape from the rest of the frantic festivities in the city centre.

Edinburgh Art Festival

(2 August - 2 September 2012) www.edinburghartfestival.com

Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is Scotland’s largest annual visual art festival and aims to showcase a diverse and vibrant program of visual arts exhibitions and events, representing and supporting the best international and emerging artists. The 2012 festival includes a series of new public art commissions and over 45 major exhibitions at leading galleries, museums and artist-run spaces across the city. Most are free to attend. For further information visit the website.

NVA’s Speed of Light

Last but not least is an intriguing and beautiful performance that you can take part in. Presented in partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival, Speed of Light will be one of the most extraordinary and high-profile events in the Festival program. One of only four national projects commissioned as a legacy of the 2012 games.

This August, Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat will be the stage for a remarkable fusion of public art and sporting endeavour. The iconic peak will be brought to life in a mass choreographed act of walking and endurance running, as part of Edinburgh International Festival. A mesmerising visual display unfolds each night on the ascent to the summit as hundreds of runners wearing specially designed light suits take to the intricate path networks below. As a member of the walking audience you become part of the work, carrying portable light sources set against the dark features of the hill. For full information of how to be a part of this spectacle or to book tickets go to the website.

Note: We forgot to add that the best way to decide on your fringe festival viewing is to head to the Scotsman reviews. Seasoned festival goers often use this as a good way to see the best the fringe has to offer, and avoid the worst! But book up quick, the 5 star shows in the Scotsman reviews often become sellouts. To see the reviews online see the website.

NVA’s Speed of Light

NVA’s Speed of Light ↑

Photo by Alan McAteer | Image courtesy of the Edinburgh International Festival

2008: Macbeth, part of the World Shakespeare Festival

2008: Macbeth, part of the World Shakespeare Festival ↑

Photo by Stefan Okołowicz | Image courtesy of the Edinburgh International Festival

The Foodies Festival Edinburgh, Inverleith Park

The Foodies Festival Edinburgh, Inverleith Park ↑

Image courtesy of the Foodies Festival

Tatyana by the Deborah Colker Dance Company

Tatyana by the Deborah Colker Dance Company ↑

Photo by Leo Aversa | Image courtesy of the Edinburgh International Festival


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