Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh's festivals kick off

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Media captionA Brief History Of The Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh's cultural festivals are officially kicking off, with thousands of events taking place.

For the next three weeks the city will host the International Festival, the Fringe and the Military Tattoo.

The Fringe remains the world's largest arts festival with 3,269 shows at 294 venues.

Meanwhile, the International Festival will host some of the finest performers from the worlds of theatre, music, opera and dance.

BBC at the Edinburgh festivals

Online highlights at bbc.co.uk/edinburghfestivals

Follow @BBCEdFest on Twitter, facebook.com/BBCEdFest and Instagram.com/bbcedfest for updates.

BBC Arts Online at bbc.co.uk/arts

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will pay tribute to the Queen, who celebrated her 90th birthday this year.

It will include a cast of more than 1,200 performers and over 250 pipers and drummers from around the world.

Twenty-five performances will take place across August, with a combined live audience of 220,000 people.

Image copyright Royal Edinburgh Military Tatttoo
Image caption About 1,200 performers will feature in the 66th Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.

The Royal Air Force will open the show with a flypast on selected evenings, including a planned flypast by the world-famous Red Arrows on Saturday at 19.30.

It will commemorate the centenary of the Great Arab Revolt - the British-backed uprising against the German-allied Ottoman Turks depicted in the film Lawrence Of Arabia.

The anniversary of The Battle of Jutland will also be marked during the event.

Brigadier David Allfrey, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo's chief executive and producer, said: "We are particularly proud to add our celebration to Her Majesty the Queen's special year while marking other important anniversaries: Jutland and the Great Arab Revolt.

"Above all though, the music is the star. This year we have developed a fabulous score bursting with incredible tunes."

Deep time

The International Festival will stage a huge opening event on Sunday.

It is a free event called Deep Time, which will see artwork projected onto the western fa├žade of Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock.

The digitally-animated projections will be inspired by the city's past, set to a special soundtrack by Scottish rock band Mogwai.

It will chart 350 million years of Edinburgh's history, looking at how volcanic activity formed the landscape and exploring the intellectual legacy of the city. In particular, it will celebrate the work of renowned Edinburgh scientist and thinker James Hutton.

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Media captionEdinburgh Fringe preview

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe also gets under way.

Its new chief executive Shona McCarthy promised "unparalleled" breadth and diversity of talent.

The festival will be made up of:

  • 50,266 performances
  • 3,269 shows
  • Artists from 48 countries
  • Performances in 294 venues.

It remains the largest arts festival in the world despite a small fall in the number of shows - down 1.3% from 3,314 last year.

Image copyright Jane Barlow/PA
Image caption The tagline of the 2016 festival is 'defying the norm'

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