The Edinburgh International Festival is the premiere summer happening of Scotland’s capital city and enjoys worldwide fame. Another event with a similar name is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. How do they differ?

While the Edinburgh International Festival promotes mainly opera, music, dance and theater, the Festival Fringe allows artists to present a much greater range of performances. Participation in the former is by invitation only; the Fringe in contrast includes anyone with a show to present and a venue willing to host them and for a small fee. Both events open on Aug. 5 and run through Aug. 29.

The Edinburg International Festival, founded in 1947, aims to harness the power of the arts to nurture and transform societies by presenting the best of music, drama and visual arts in ideal surroundings. In venues scattered across the city, attendees will enjoy performances by, for example, the Mariinsky Opera, The American Repertory Theater, the Scottish Ballet and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Tickets are available online and on site at The Hub on Castle Hill. A giant fireworks display over Prince’s Street Garden at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 29 closes the event in grand style. Learn more at

The Festival Fringe also came about in 1947, when eight theater groups turned up to the Edinburgh International Festival uninvited and staged their shows on the “fringe of the festival,” thus coining the name. Today, it’s billed as the largest arts festival in the world and caters to all tastes with a program of comedy, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and other events.

Virgin Money Street Events are free previews of Fringe shows offered daily across four stages on the High Street of the Royal Mile and the Mound Precinct. Learn more at

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