The Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh Festival is just the best known of the festivals that will be on in Edinburgh during the conference.

The (main) Edinburgh Festival: 12th August - 4th September

The eight festival venues (all fairly well to hand from our conference site and from our accommodation) have events on almost all days. Most events are in the evenings, so gung-ho culture vultures can do a full conference day, eat a quick dinner and do an event.

The brochure and programme are online on the festival website. Online booking is now available.

The Festival Fringe: 5th - 29th August

The main festival is the high end of what happens in Edinburgh: a (relatively) small number of large shows (but often at suprisingly affordable prices).

The Festival Fringe is three frenetic weeks of low-budget theatre. Tom Stoppard's 'Rosencrants and Guildenstern are dead' is only one of many well-known plays that premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The fringe does the old favourites and new stuff, and old stuff you would never see elsewhere.

Shows start mid-morning with events children like: I've seen adaptions of Thurber's 'The 13 clocks', Lewis' Narnia stories, ... . In the afternoon, the choice steadily rises from a handful of shows starting every half-hour to tens of shows starting every half-hour: see a dramatisation of the Peanuts cartoons, or a Tennessee Williams play, or a translation from French or German (I saw Hans Kolhaas at the fringe) or ... . By the evening, a plethora of shows start every 15 minutes.

The secret of doing the fringe is to work out each year what topic is fashionable with the smart set - and avoid like the plague the 50% of shows that are on it, as they will be awful. From the hundreds of other shows, choose your schedule - day after day, you can watch plays, musicals and events from 10:30 in the morning to 01:30 the next morning if you want.

You can't do the fringe fully during the conference - but of course you can catch an evening fringe show instead of a main festival event on any day. If you want to immerse yourself in it, you can:

  • arrive early and do a day or days
  • stay for the weekend after the conference, which is the last two days of the fringe

Fringe venues are scattered all over Edinburgh, but the majority of them are in walking distance of our conference venue and our accommodation.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: 5th - 27th August

The tattoo is held on the castle esplanade: massed pipe bands and highland dancing by Scots, and displays by visitors (this year, a Dutch group will be playing bagpipes on bikes!).

The tattoo is an evening event: you can do it after a conference day. During the week, it starts at 21:00 for 1.5 hours. At the weekend, it starts earlier.

It is now sold out but tickets sometimes reappear thorugh cancellations; see the website if you have not yet booked but are keen.