FREE Edinburgh Fringe Festival activities for August

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks (5th August – 29th August).


Every year thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.  The full programme for 2016 can be found here.

There is also the Edinburgh International Book Festival which will start from the 13th August until 29th August.  This is the largest public celebration of the written word in the world with over 800 writers attending.  The full programme for the book festival can be found here, which includes lots of free events.

Not to be missed is Edinburgh Art Festival, the UK’s largest annual festival of visual art. The vast majority of the festival is free to attend.

BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals is sited at George Heriot’s School this year and Dads Rock will be among the performers offering free and non ticketed shows in the BBC Castle tent.

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Amongst all the paid for activities there is a programme of FREE Edinburgh Fringe Activities. There is a whole range of comedy, arts, music and children’s events on for FREE this month. The full programme can be found here.


Free Forest Fringe shows at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Leith from the 11th to the 20th August. Forest Fringe has been running for the past 10 years and have never charged anyone to come and see a show nor an artist to perform!

Full programme of Forest Fringe events can be found here


If comedy is something you are interested in there is also the PBH free fringe a great selection of events in venues across the city. You can read their programme here.


Another one to pay attention to is the Fringe Film Festival a free event of short films that takes place as part of C Venues in C Nova (1 India Buildings, Victoria Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2EX) with family orientated short films from 10.00am-6.00pm and adult orientated short films from 6.00pm-1.00am. You can find more information here.


From the Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival, there will be a street cinema parked on George Street from 12 – 24 August. The Picturehouse Travelling Cinema is an articulated lorry with a 100-seat cinema. Step aboard to enjoy a film programme comprising classic Musicals, Visions of the Future, The Scary 70s, rare finds from the BBC’s Play for Today archive and a free, rolling programme of short films.

*Please note it is only the short films that are free here.  

More details of the showings can be found here.


The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time is an epic, outdoor, public artwork, bringing together spectacular animation, lighting and music based around Edinburgh Castle. It will delve deep into 350 million years of Edinburgh’s history.

This dazzling opening to the 2016 festival season is set to a specially compiled soundtrack of music by Scottish rock band Mogwai and is produced by Tony Award-winning 59 Productions, creators of the acclaimed Harmonium Project that launched the 2015 International Festival.

Free event on Sunday 7th August
Castle Terrace Arena
10.30 pm – 10.50 pm

More information can be found here about the event and booking tickets.

If attending shows and exhibitions is not your thing – you can still enjoy the various FREE street acts and performances that take place over town, at the Royal Mile, the Mound and Princes Street.

We would welcome any reviews of shows or experiences of the Festival!  You can email them in to

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