Skip to content


Home arrow About the Festivals arrow Other August festivals
Other August festivals

As the Festival bandwagon rolls onward with unstoppable pace, more and more organizations are joining the August party. Though less established, smaller, or shorter than the major Festivals, these newcomers are all deserving of their place in the schedule - and often make for a calming diversion from the hectic Festival routine.

The burgeoning Edinburgh Art Festival aims to remind Festival-goers of the wealth of visual art on display in both public and commercial galleries across the city. The Festival runs a few talks and guided gallery tours - but the main idea is just to get a map in your hand, head for a gallery and enjoy a browse. You can, of course, do this at any time of year, and Edinburgh residents may well prefer to wait until it's quieter, but for visitors to the city an afternoon at the galleries can be a welcome escape from the general hullabaloo. (If you're a fan of the visual arts, note that they're also well-represented in the Fringe programme.)

Launched in 2005, the fledgling Festival of Politics is based entirely in the Scottish Parliament building, and over the space of a few days runs a series of discussions and seminars with well-known Scots politicians and journalists. It's a worthy and welcome attempt to open up the Parliament to both Scots and visitors from abroad - though if you neither know nor care about domestic Scottish politics, you're unlikely to find much to interest you here.

Another comparative newcomer, the Festival of Spirituality and Peace offers an alternative viewpoint. A collaboration of places of worship across the city, drawn from many different faiths, it too runs a programme of thought-provoking speakers. The lectures and discussions are often eye-opening; as the festival's name suggests, though, the debate is driven firmly from a particular end of the political spectrum.

Oldest and shortest of the smaller festivals is Edinburgh's Mela, established in 1995 by the city's Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. The Mela - a Sanskrit word for "gathering" - aims to bring south Asian culture to a Scottish setting, recreating the atmosphere of an eastern bazaar. Mela is based at Leith Links in the north-east of the city, where, over a long weekend at the start of September, it features music, arts and crafts, occasional acrobatics and, of course, a feast of south Asian cuisine.

Finally, the International Television Festival takes place during the last few days of the Festival period, broadly unnoticed by the Fringe-going crowds. TV bigwigs from across the globe converge on Edinburgh, but the events aren't open to the public.

<< The Royal Edinburgh Milit...