Best time to go to Edinburgh

Edinburgh International Festival 2024

A showcase of the world's best music, dance, theatre, and opera in Edinburgh every August

Dates: August 2–25, 2024

Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival is an annual festival that celebrates performing arts and unites people worldwide. Over three weeks in August, the festival showcases top performers and ensembles from dance, opera, music, and theatre. They deliver unique collaborations, world premieres, fresh interpretations of classic works, and critically acclaimed productions to captivate, thrill, and entertain audiences in Edinburgh.

Main Events

In 2024, the Edinburgh International Festival presents a diverse array of main events spanning classical music, contemporary music, dance, theatre, and opera, all under the theme of Rituals That Unite Us. Among the lineup, certain performances stand out as unmissable experiences. At the forefront is "The Fifth Step," a world premiere play by David Ireland, featuring the BAFTA-nominated Scottish actor Jack Lowden in a leading role, promising an evening of gripping drama and stellar performances. "Songs of the Bulbul" by Aakash Odedra explores an ancient Sufi myth with spiritual depth.

International Theater Amsterdam's provocative and intense adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist's Penthesilea offers a captivating exploration of love and cultural traditions. In opera, "Carmen" arrives directly from Opéra-Comique, breathing fresh life into Georges Bizet's timeless classic with a production straight from the Parisian opera house. For music lovers, "Mahler 5 Inside Out" provides an immersive exploration of Mahler's Symphony No. 5. "Fire in My Mouth" promises to ignite the senses with its evocative female singers of the National Youth Choir of Scotland. At the same time, the Family Concert offers a delightful musical experience suitable for all ages.


In addition to its main events, the Edinburgh International Festival hosts a vibrant array of visual art exhibitions, talks, and workshops, providing attendees with opportunities for cultural enrichment and engagement. Street shows bring the festival's spirit to the bustling streets of Edinburgh. And to mark the culmination of the festivities, the Edinburgh International Festival's annual closing fireworks display lights up the night sky, providing a spectacular finale to this celebration of the arts.


The Edinburgh International Festival offers a wide range of ticket prices to ensure accessibility for all audiences. Standard tickets range from £30 to £150. The festival provides discounted tickets, with prices for arts workers ranging from £17.50 to £71.40 and for those under 30 from £17.50 to £71.40. The festival is also committed to inclusivity, offering reduced prices for D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent individuals, ranging from £12.50 to £72.00, and for their essential companions, from £12.50 to £57.00. Young attendees under 18 can enjoy the festival with ticket prices ranging from £12.50 to £57.00.


The Edinburgh International Festival will be held across a variety of prestigious venues. The main locations include The Hub, The Lyceum, The Queen's Hall, Church Hill Theatre, the Festival Theatre, The Edinburgh Playhouse, Usher Hall, The Studio, the Scottish Parliament, the National Museum of Scotland, and St Giles' Cathedral.

History of the Festival

Founded in 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival was the brainchild of Rudolf Bing, a cultural pioneer and Jewish refugee from the Nazi regime. Bing collaborated with civic and artistic leaders to create an event to transcend political boundaries through a global celebration of the performing arts in Scotland’s beloved capital city. Over the subsequent 76 years, the International Festival has thrived, reinforcing its commitment to artistic excellence and cultural curiosity. During this time, sister festivals have emerged, adding to the unparalleled excitement that envelops the city every summer.

Last updated:
Authors: Sophia Andrus