Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 22:11 UK

Quick guide: Edinburgh festivals

Edinburgh in August is the "festival city".

Since the late 1940s Scotland's capital has become a hotspot for artistic talent.

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL - 8 to 31 AUGUST

It all began in 1947 with the launch of the Edinburgh International Festival, which aimed to provide "a platform for the flowering of the human spirit".

More than 60 years on, the festival presents a rich programme of classical music, theatre, opera and dance in six major theatres and concert halls and a number of smaller venues.

The key venues are the Usher Hall, the Festival Theatre, The Edinburgh Playhouse, the King's Theatre, the Royal Lyceum Theatre, The Queen's Hall and The Hub.

All artists and companies appear at the invitation of the festival director, which is a major contrast with the Fringe.

EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL - 3 to 25 AUGUST

Eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to the first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the Fringe was born.

Last year, the Fringe featured 31,000 performances of 2,050 shows in 250 venues.

An estimated 18,626 performers were on stage and more than 1.6 million tickets were sold, worth more than 10m.

Fringe performances are a mixture of theatre, comedy, music, dance and children's entertainment.

Many performers use the Fringe as a place to launch new material.

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL - 9 to 25 AUGUST

The Edinburgh International Book Festival began in 1983 and is now a key part of the festival season.

At first it was biennial but it became a yearly celebration in 1997.

Last year the festival programmed more than 700 events, including high profile debates and discussions with writers from all over the world.

The book festival's home is Charlotte Square Gardens in the west of Edinburgh's Georgian New Town.

The tented village welcomed about 220,000 people last August.

EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO - 1 to 23 AUGUST

The Tattoo first took place in 1949 and it has been run like a military operation ever since.

Last year about 217,000 people witnessed the spectacle on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle.

It was the ninth consecutive year that every single performance was sold out.

About 70% of each audience comes from outwith Scotland, half of these from overseas.

EDINBURGH JAZZ and BLUES FESTIVAL - 25 JULY TO 3 AUGUST

The festival is a celebration of all things jazz, bringing some of the world's best performers to Edinburgh.

The 30th festival will bring jazz to parks, concert halls, a Spiegeltent and bars throughout the city.

Two of its set-piece events are the Mardi Gras in the city's Grassmarket and Jazz On A Summers Day in Princes Street Gardens.

EDINBURGH ART FESTIVAL - 24 JULY to 31 AUGUST

The festival seeks to highlight the importance of the visual arts.

Galleries, museums and individual artists stage a range of imaginative and innovative events.

EDINBURGH MELA - 25 to 31 AUGUST

Edinburgh Mela is Scotland's biggest annual multicultural arts festival.

It has its roots in South Asian cultures but it celebrates the wide diversity of cultures in Scotland.

EDINBURGH TELEVISION FESTIVAL - 22 to 24 AUGUST

The festival, which began in 1976, is an annual forum for the television industry to debate and share ideas.

Key figures from the industry debate the issues of the day at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

The wide-ranging programme involves keynote lectures, preview screenings, masterclasses, interviews and networking parties.

It is attended by more than 2,000 UK and international delegates.

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - 18 to 29 JUNE

For 60 years the film festival was staged in August, coinciding with other arts festivals in the city.

The world's longest continually-running film festival has moved to June this year.

The switch means it will no longer have to compete with rival events in Venice and Toronto to attract some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

The 2008 festival has 142 feature films from 29 countries.


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