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Edinburgh's Festivals: All You Need To Know

Jan 26, 2008
Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh, is second in size to Glasgow and very different from it's nearby rival.

Probably one of the most famous events held here is the annual Edinburgh Festival, which takes place during most of August and is the height of the cultural season with a heady mixture of different arts and cultural festivals as well as a thriving "fringe festival" which boasts that it is the largest performing arts festival anywhere in the world.

The Fringe Festival features a wide variety of acts. Many up and coming comedians perform their latest acts for the first time at the Fringe. Part of the reason for the popularity of comedy shows is that many of these are free - often because the audience are drinking enough for the venue to be able to pay the acts. Comedy also lends itself well to open microphone sessions, where members of the audience stand up on stage and attempt to impress their fellow attendees.

The Fringe isn't just about comedy. Many classic Greek and Shakespeare plays get their only UK performances at the festival. So if you want to watch a little known play, this could be your chance to see it played live.

By its very nature, the Fringe isn't centrally organized. This makes for part of the fun of attending - you never quite know what you could find.

For those who can't get to Edinburgh to visit the festivals in person, there is now the option of using the internet.

As well as offering tickets for sale, the official Fringe website allows visitors to post their own reviews and ratings of the shows. It also has its own dedicated internet television channel, featuring webcasts of some of the shows, unique interviews with some of the performers and even its own news bulletins.

You can also keep in touch with other podcast networks but these vary from year to year, so you'll need to check out the official Fringe website to find out who is offering coverage this year.

The main Edinburgh Festival is itself a collection of other festivals. Apart from the Fringe, these also include the Edinburgh International Festival. This covers both classical and modern theatre together with Opera, dance and music performances. It features top class performers from all over the world and uses a cluster of six main venues together with other places as necessary. Opera fans should head towards the Festival Theatre and take their place on one of the 1,800 seats to enjoy the operatic productions.

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo also takes place during the festival season. Here, you can witness military bands from the British Army as well as international military bands, not just from countries in the Commonwealth but also from elsewhere.

You can also see military display teams at the Tattoo. Whatever you choose to watch, you need to book early. Almost a quarter of a million people watch the Tattoo each year. If you can't make it in person, the event is regularly carried on television.
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