About the Festival

Every August, the Edinburgh International Festival transforms one of the world's most beautiful cities, presenting three exhilarating weeks of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of the arts - for everyone.

Edinburgh's six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best classical music, theatre, opera, dance and visual art from around the globe.

The atmosphere in the city is something special. The Daily Telegraph said - ‘not just the most thrilling, beguiling, preposterously enjoyable place on Earth; it is also wonderfully addictive.' Or as The Spectator suggested, ‘you can sleep in September'.

Outside the buzz of those three weeks the Festival has a year-round programme of education and outreach work, aimed at all ages from primary school pupils to adults.

Festival 2010 runs from 13 August to 5 September, the programme of performances and events can be found here.


The Edinburgh International Festival has been connecting audiences and artists for over sixty years. Founded in 1947, the Festival grew out of the rubble of the Second World War with the aim of providing 'a platform for the flowering of the human spirit'. This belief in the power of the arts to nurture and transform lies at the heart of the Festival's mission today.

The Festival inspired people to put on shows of their own right from the start, and these grew into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Since then more festivals have grown up around it in August and early September, as well as at other times of year. There are now 12 major annual festivals in Edinburgh, the Festival City.

The Edinburgh International Festival was the first of its kind. Today there are major festivals around the world modeled on the Edinburgh International Festival and the extraordinary experiences it creates for both audiences and artists.

Creating a Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival is a curated festival - all artists and companies appear in the Festival at the invitation of the Festival Director.

There have been ten directors since the Festival began, each bringing their own style and interests. The current Festival Director is Jonathan Mills. 2009 was his third Festival for which he explored ideas about the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment.

As sole promoter of its events the Festival's invitation to an artist covers all the administration and costs associated with their performance in Edinburgh - fees, travel, accommodation, venue hire and the promotion of the performance. In return, the Festival retains all income from ticket sales.

The Festival is responsible for funding all its activities. As a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity, its budget is a carefully balanced mix of income raised from ticket sales, fundraising and sponsorship, along with public sector grants.

A team of 27 permanent full time staff work year round to make the Festival possible. In the run up to and during the three weeks of the Festival itself this core team is joined by a significant number of additional paid staff who work as drivers, technicians, and in the ticketing and press offices.

Want to know more?

The Festival's Annual Review contains an overview of each year's Festival, including its finances. You can find the most recent of these in pdf format below (you'll need the Adobe Reader, or an equivalent, to view them). 

The Festival's archive is held by the National Library of Scotland http://www.nls.uk/. In addition, the Edinburgh Room at the City of Edinburgh's Central Library has accessible copies of all Festival publications, including event programmes.

Interested in how artists are selected to perform at the Festival? Visit the Taking Part page.

Have a look at the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions.

Got another question? Please contact us.

Annual Reviews

2009 Edinburgh International Festival

2008 Edinburgh International Festival

2007 Edinburgh International Festival

2006 Edinburgh International Festival

2005 Edinburgh International Festival

2004 Edinburgh International Festival

2003 Edinburgh International Festival

2002 Edinburgh International Festival

2001 Edinburgh International Festival

The 2001 Edinburgh International Festival Annual Report has been split into 4 sections. Select the section below to view it:

  • Introduction and Objectives, Chairman's Statement, Festival Director's Review
  • Festival Facts and Figures, Sponsorship and Donations
  • Education and Outreach Work, The Hub, The Festival Society
  • Financial Statements, Events in the 2001 Festival

2000 Edinburgh International Festival

1999 Edinburgh International Festival


Edinburgh - The city of edinburgh council Scottish Arts Council

Edinburgh International Festival Society is a company limited by guarantee and incorporated in Scotland (SC024766)
with its registered office at The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE. Registered Charity No SC004694