The Festival City
Edinburgh is the world's leading festival city, presenting an unforgettable mix of cultural experiences in an iconic and beautiful city. It is an astonishing place to live, offering for artists and audiences a wonderful opportunity to engage and exchange with a whole world of creative experiences and irresistible distractions.
Today what happens in Edinburgh could not happen anywhere else. The city’s rich architectural heritage is complemented by a dynamic contemporary building programme which creates an incredible range of festival spaces.
UNESCO World Heritage Status was granted in 1995 for the contrast of the antique charm of the Old Town (from the year 1074 onwards) and the formal grandeur of the New Town (1759 onwards). The Festivals literally and distinctively inhabit every corner of the historic heart of the city – every theatre, every hall, every courtyard, every basement, every park.
From the Castle Esplanade to the ancient backstreets of the medieval Old Town, from the grand gardens of the 18th century Charlotte Square to the narrow, cobbled side streets off the Royal Mile, from the grandeur of the Festival Theatre to the dark intimacy of the city’s Masonic Halls. This delicious density, this wealth of choice for visitors and locals alike, has been allowed to flourish and thrive with the backing of the City of Edinburgh Council – partner funder and key stakeholder – which has supported the Festivals as well as the ambition and vision of their directors.
An Events Planning and Operations Group is co-ordinated by the City of Edinburgh Council and together with the work of its Events Team, the Arts and Learning Team, the Public Safety Team, the Licensing Division, the Culture and Sport Division, the Economic Development Division – and a number of other officers across environmental health, parks and libraries – the Council plays a crucial role in delivery of the Festivals. This infrastructure, together with the role of the many high ranking Council officials who act as Board members and Trustees of the individual Festivals, creates the unique environment that allows the world’s favourite festival city to flourish.