In 1947, following the Second World War, the Edinburgh International Festival was established to provide Edinburghians with ‘a flowering of the human spirit’. In that year, the now famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival were also born.
Since then, Edinburgh’s festival scene has blossomed, with the city’s most popular gatherings growing year on year. Today, Edinburgh is considered to be the leading festival city on the planet. With 12 major festivals making their way to Edinburgh every year and a staggering 4.2 million people drawn to the Scottish capital, there is no doubting its popularity.
The summer months in particular are packed with an exciting programme of activities. So, as we head into June, here is a brief guide to the events you can look forward to in the coming weeks.
From the 9th June –19th June 2016, Edinburgh sees the return of the Festival of Cycling. This two-wheeled extravaganza features everything from bike workshops to bike-related plays, organised bike rides to seminars and lectures. Run by volunteers, this social enterprise has grown year-on-year since it first began in 2013.
Edinburgh has ambitious plans to promote cycling in the city. In fact, by 2017 a substantial 10% of the council’s transport budget will be dedicated to cycling infrastructure. And the Festival of Cycling fits perfectly with this ethos. Listed as one of the UK’s best cycling festivals by the Guardian and by Total Women’s Cycling it is well worth a look.
Edinburgh’s Canal Festival and Raft Race is back for one day only on the 18th June, so set yourself by the waters of the Lochrin Basin (Edinburgh end of the Union Canal) ready for the jam packed day ahead. Edinburgh Canal Festival is the perfect summer event. With both water and land-based activities, art, music and a range of stalls, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. Here’s to hoping for a bit of sunshine!
Since the first colour photograph was developed in Scotland in 1861, the country has had a long and illustrious connection with the capturing of images. It seems fitting then that Edinburgh celebrates emerging talent in the photography industry each year in the shape of the Retina Photography Festival. This year’s event will be taking place over 5 weeks in 8 venues across the Scottish capital. With 66 incredible artists contributing in 2016, the festival is set to be an exceptional year for Retina.
One of the most exciting and sought after experiences in Edinburgh’s festival calendar is the annual International Film Festival. From the 15th of June, film lovers will be blessed with two weeks of cinema screenings premiering extraordinary cinema from both the UK and abroad. This year marks the 70th anniversary of an event and the organisers have gone all out to make it a memorable celebration. Boasting 22 world premieres and 85 UK premieres among the 151 features, it is hard to see how more cinema could possibly be packed into a fortnight.
This year’s highlights include the UK premiere of Finding Dory – the sequel to Disney-Pixar’s much-loved Finding Nemo. The newly-restored 4K version of the cult classic Highlander will also be premiered at the festival.
Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated event of the festival will take place just a stone’s throw from Quartermile at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Here, Steven Spielberg’s classic E.T. The Extra Terrestrial will be screened accompanied by a live performance of John Williams’ by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Film-makers will also be vying for a range of awards at the film festival, including Best International Feature Film, Best International Documentary Feature and the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film – which comes with a £20,000 cash prize.
Like the idea of having all this on your doorstep? Why not make the move to Edinburgh’s most desirable district and make Quartermile your home?
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