Festivals, Cultural and City Events

University and the Festivals

Year round work with our Fringe Tenants, Edinburgh's Festivals and online content from Festivals in Summer 2020

Festival City

Edinburgh is the world's leading festival city, with a range of major annual festivals bringing talents from more than a third of the world's countries to our streets and stages. Dating back to 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival was established after World War II to stimulate "a flowering of the human spirit" and bring people from across the world to connect through creative endeavour. In that same year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Film Festival also started to amplify this aspiration and enable more people to take part. Sidney Newman, Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University was instrumental in this original vision.

Other festivals followed, from military grandeur to intimate jazz and blues, captivating science to underground theatre and children's entertainment. As these festivals grew into world-leading celebrations, international excellence in art, culture and science became a permanent and inescapable part of Edinburgh's identity. The City is now a hotbed of cultural interaction, creative innovation and challenging academic thought with the University of Edinburgh at its heart. The University is proud to support such an animated cultural scene, with events covering a range of subjects from art, science, film and media to literature, music, technology and more.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 is the first year since 1947 that the Festivals have not been able to take place. We’re hoping it won’t be too long before we can play our part in bringing people back together again to share and celebrate culture in our extraordinary city.

We’re working closely with all of our Festival partners to keep in touch with their plans for future years. We’ll update our site as soon as they are in a position to announce future festival activity. We want to welcome you back to Edinburgh as soon as we safely can.

Summer Festival Tenants

The University is a bustling central hub for this entertainment, providing a home to over one third of the festival’s performances.

We are the largest landlord for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with a growing list of tenants:

Edinburgh’s Festivals

The University works with Festivals year round in many ways for example through partnering with the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Science Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and others to enable them to produce and present work across the City.


Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The University of Edinburgh inspires and hosts a number of Fringe shows every year.

Edinburgh International Festival (EIF)

International Festival
The University is a proud supporter of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

The University of Edinburgh is a major sponsor of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, with the James Tait Black Prize Ceremony for Fiction and Biography held there.

Edinburgh Science Festival (ESF)

The University has run and hosted events with the Edinburgh International Science Festival for over 20 years.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF)

The University is proud to host events in conjunction with the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival runs every July, with their main site in George Square Gardens.

Past Highlights

The University engages with the Festivals each year in a variety of events.