Experiment with science, debate at literary salons, stir the imagination with storytelling, party to swing, soul and samba – Scotland’s capital Edinburgh will once again deliver a whole host of themes to visitors during its feast of festivals in 2015.
World renowned as a festival city, Edinburgh is perhaps best known for its energetic International Festival and Fringe Festival that will, next year, both take place throughout the month of August; both have been running since 1947 so are well established on the world festival stage. But anyone seeking a dynamic cultural experience in the city can do so year round, as it hosts 12 festivals over 12 months.
Attending an Edinburgh festival is also a fascinating way of getting under the skin of the city; the festivals have held their events in every part of this historic destination, from private Georgian gardens to the old university halls, from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade to residents’ living rooms!
Kicking off the year is the Edinburgh International Science Festival (4 – 19 April). Expect a cutting-edge programme; 2014’s festival featured interactive pods and hands-on workshops, many designed for the whole family, while Gastrofest – a mini festival on the science of food and drink – and LateLabs – evening talks, performances, interactives and installations – were aimed at an adult audience.
Hot on its heels will be the Imaginate Festival (11 – 17 May), the Edinburgh International Film Festival (17– 28 June) and the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (17– 26 July). Imaginate is the festival for the kids, being the largest for performing arts for children and young people in Britain. Film fans are treated to a showcase of original ideas and new talent at the film festival, while music lovers can groove at more than 140 gigs in 13 venues (as eclectic as a 17th-century church turned funky jazz club!) in the Jazz and Blues Festival.
Whatever art style visitors love, they can spend an entire month exploring the Edinburgh Art Festival (30 July – 30 August); 2014’s festival brought 45 exhibitions into the city showcasing contemporary and historical art, artists talks, art ‘Lates’ and family activities, and much of this can be expected in 2015.
August is, of course, the month of the celebrated International Festival and Festival Fringe (both running 7 – 31 August in 2015), when the capital comes alive with all sorts of performing arts, from comedy and opera to street performers and ballet, and much more. August 2015 is also the time to catch three other festivals. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (7 – 29 August) will bring talent from four continents to audiences; its showpiece for 2015 will be ‘East Meets West’, where pipers, drummers, singers and dancers will come together. The Edinburgh International Book Festival (15 – 31 August) gives visitors the opportunity, through more than 700 events, to meet authors, attend high-profile literary debates, workshops, book signings plus there will be a dedicated children’s programme. The packed month ends on a music and dance high with the Edinburgh Mela (28 – 30 August), which celebrates these genres from around the world.
Imaginations will continue to be inspired as the Scottish International Storytelling Festival arrives in the city in late October (23October – 1 November) bringing with it live storytelling from Scottish and international narrators and musicians. Music is, of course, one of the highlights of the last festival of the year; closing the year with a bang is the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations (30 December – 1 January 2016).