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The Edinburgh International Festival offers classic and contemporary music, theatre, opera and dance. It started in 1947 and its success inspired people to develop fringe shows and alternative festivals which along with the Edinburgh International Festival are now collectively known as ‘the Edinburgh Festival'. In 2011 the Edinburgh International Festivalruns from the12th August to the 4th September. To see the programme or make a booking go to www.eif.co.uk.

Originally an upstart alternative to the ‘official festival', the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has grown to make the Edinburgh Festival the envy of the world. In 2010 it continued its record breaking run. During the three weeks that the Fringe ran, approximately 21,148 performers put on 40,254 performances of 2,453 shows in 250 venues and approximately 1.96million tickets were sold ! It is a major showcase for World, European and UK premiers. It includes all forms of music, theatre, comedy, drama, exhibitions and events. The 2011 Fringe runs from the 5th to the 29th August and tickets go on sale in May. Book early and get this year's programme at www.edfringe.com.

The 2011 festival scene also includes the jazz festival ( 22nd - 31st July, the book festival ( 13th – 29th August), the Edinburgh art festival (31st July – 31st August) and the MediaGuardian international television festival (26th – 28th August). Rounding them off is the remarkable Edinburgh Military Tattoo which is in its 59 th year and runs from the 5tht to the 27th August 2008.

Due to the popularity of the Edinburgh Festival and because of its excellence as a touring base, Edinburgh's population effectively doubles during the summer months. If you are thinking of visiting at this time, it is important that you book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment.

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