Festivals in Edinburgh in 2018


Every August, millions descend upon Edinburgh in search of the International and Fringe Festivals, however there’s a lot more to Auld Reekie’s festival season than meets the eye.

With at least 9 festivals in this month alone, you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing much happens in Edinburgh before the larger festivals kick off. It may indeed feel a bit like the calm before the storm however there's still plenty to see. Everything from blues to black pudding is covered in a summer of eclectic celebrations, and all are well worth a visit. There are a wide range of festivals which take place in Edinburgh throughout the whole of the summer and these cover a number of art forms from books to television and jazz to performance art.

It’s perhaps not surprising that with so many festivals crammed into such a small period, some people get confused between them. So as Edinburgh gets ready for months of festival madness, here's our run down of what's what in the world of Edinburgh alternative festivals to help clear things up.

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

13th – 22nd July 2018

Running since 1978 and featuring names such as Jools Holland this year, the Jazz and Blues Festival is truly spectacular and not to be missed. Most concerts are held in The Festival Theatre and Old Town venues, however there are also a few key colourful events outdoors. You can catch the free Edinburgh Festival Carnival in Princes Street & Princes Street Gardens on 15th July or Mardi Gras in The Grassmarket, on Sat 14th July.

Foodies Festival

3rd-5th August 2018

 Yum! Held in Inverleith Park, Foodies Festival offers a number of demonstration theatres of delectable food and drink, and guarantees delicious family fun for all. There’s plenty to purchase and sample from over 30 vendors, masterclasses to be enjoyed, various workshops including cake decorating and Chocolate making and you can wash it down with some refreshing cocktails. All senses are catered for, as you’re also treated to a live music stage, which this year includes The Hoosiers and Toploader.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival

11th – 27th August 2018

Set in Charlotte Square amid a host of marquees in a delightful tented village and attracting over 250,000 visitors (making it one of the largest literary festival in the world), this event offers a sanctuary in the midst of other Festival madness. Even if you don't have a ticket for any of the events, you can still go into the gardens for free and spend a few hours soaking up the atmosphere and the variety of fair-trade hot and cold snacks whilst spotting famous faces.

Over 900 Philosophers and literary superstars from the world over contribute to over 800 events at the festival, which in previous years has included attendances from the likes of Ruby Wax, Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith.

As well as getting the chance to meet and share a drink with the likes of the above, as well as poets, scientists, comic creators and historians, festival guests will be able to enjoy a number of discussions, including cultural and political debates. The programme features daily debates, discussions, and book launches. An array of children's events also take place alongside the adult schedule.

The full line up will be available from 6.30 on 7th June and online booking tickets will be open on Tuesday 26 June. A must for book lovers.

Scottish Real Ale Festival

Thursday 5th – Saturday 7th July 2018

 Part of CAMRA, this boozy addition promises an enlightening visit for aficionados and amateurs alike. The event is held at the Corn Exchange, and entrance includes your souvenir pint or half pint glass, ready to measure out your choice of over 170 real ales and ciders. CAMRA gifts and merchandise are also available.

Edinburgh Mela

1st – 2nd September 2018

The Mela is one of Scotland’s most well-known festivals for world music and dance, and features a diverse range of international music, dance, fashion and food. This year’s program is still a closely guarded secret, however previous acts have included The Orb, Mumzy Stranger, and Red Baraat. Established for over 20 years this event is particularly family friendly, with a special kid’s zone, so everyone can join in.

So many festivals. One (smallish) city. With all of them taking place this summer, make sure to bring your family or friends and enjoy all that they have to offer.

Remember, if you haven't booked your Festival Accommodation, view our self catering options to find a luxury apartment during your time here (often at a cheaper rate than a hotel).

What is your favourite Edinburgh Festival? Let us know on Twitter @reserveapts

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