Skip to content


Home arrow Festival events
Festival events

Edinburgh's festival calendar is punctuated by three major events, roughly marking out the start, high-water mark, and end of the showtime season. In early August, it all kicks off with the Festivals Cavalcade through the city centre; Fringe Sunday follows in the middle of the month, and the curtain is brought down by the spectacular Festival Fireworks in early September.

The spread-out timing of the events means that, unless you're lucky enough to live within striking distance of Edinburgh, you'll probably only be here for one. Still, it's worth planning your visit to take in the one which appeals the most: the cavalcade's popular with families, Fringe Sunday is a smorgasbord of entertainment and the fireworks make an unforgettable finale for those who can stay until the very end.

All these events work up a great atmosphere, and they're all very big: the end-of-festival fireworks alone are said to be witnessed by an astonishing quarter of a million people. What's more - and importantly for the many visitors feeling the financial pinch of the Festival - all these events can be seen for free.

Jazz Events

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July 2013

At the very start of the Festival period, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival treats the city to a pair of free events, totalling seven hours of alfresco music over the two days of its first weekend.  The Festival's early timing means these events are largely attended by locals.

The Festival Fireworks

Sunday 1 September 2013

FireworksThe end of the Edinburgh International Festival is marked by the world-famous festival firework concert, when - to a live orchestral accompaniment - upwards of 100,000 pyrotechnics go up in the air in an intense, magnificent 45-minute show.  The very last event of the festival season, and a week after the Fringe has packed up its bags and gone home, the fireworks are very much a local affair; a reward for the city of Edinburgh for playing host for another year.

The Festivals Cavalcade


THE FESTIVALS CAVALCADE HAS CLOSED DOWN.  The event was cancelled in 2011, following the departure of its long-standing organizer.

But the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has stepped in to fill the gap, with its "Festivals Carnival" slated to take the place of the Cavalcade.  Read more about the brand-new Carnival.

Fringe Sunday


WE'RE SORRY TO SAY THERE IS NO FRINGE SUNDAY THIS YEAR.  The event was cancelled from 2009, following the loss of a major sponsor.

In the absence of Fringe Sunday, the best way to catch up with previews of Fringe acts and entertaining street performances is by visiting the Royal Mile, pretty much any day of the Fringe.  Find out more about seeing shows on the street.

When August comes

FringeGuru's How-To Guide is packed with in-depth practical advice, heping you make the most of the Festival this year.

Find out more >>