Right on our doorstep We're counting down the days until the world's biggest arts festival gets underway right here in Edinburgh

Summertime in Edinburgh is arguably the city’s busiest time. As the holiday season commences tourists flock to the capital to soak up its history and culture. And from the middle of June, the city’s diverse line-up of festivals gets underway. The EICC also undergoes a transformation for August as Venue 150 at the EICC is thrust into the limelight to play host to some of the biggest and most vibrant acts of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

With so many exciting performances on offer, from dance to drama, from burlesque to ballroom, we take a look at the major festivals that take place over the summer season and how Venue 150 at the EICC is at the heart of it all.

Ten Drum Art Percussion Group from Taiwan.

Venue 150 at the EICC

In the countdown to the opening of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Event Designers Tanja Kunze and Sarah Duffy coordinate the EICC's transformation to Venue 150. "The flexibility that performers have with Venue 150 at the EICC means there are no restrictions to what they can do," says Tanja Kunze. This year, the world-class Lennox Suite will be a key performance area of the festival venue. "Jimmy Carr is playing here and the increased capacity that we have in the Lennox Suite will allow even more of his fans to see him," explains Sarah Duffy.

In addition to Jimmy Carr, other big names on the comedy circuit, Alan Davies, Daniel Sloss and Jimeoin, are making the most of what Venue 150 has to offer. "We have a fantastic space here," says Tanja. "For the performers, we have a technical production team for support, we have the expertise of our team and we have a modern venue with a great atmosphere."

The flexibility of the venue means it lends itself to so much more than just comedy. "We touch all corners of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe," Sarah says. “We have Barrowland Ballet performing the two brilliant pieces, Tiger and Tiger Tale, and the Ten Drum Art Percussion Group from Taiwan. Our festival programme really offers something for everyone to enjoy."

Venue 150 at the EICC isn't just reserved for those attending a show there. For the month of August, the main concourse area of the venue turns into an indoor beer garden. "Festival visitors can come to Venue 150 for drinks and enjoy the atmosphere in our indoor beer garden, which is always proves to be a great way to bring the outdoors in," says Tanja.

Tickets for all Venue 150 at the EICC shows are available on the website or by calling 0844 847 1639.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival

Film buffs the world over gather in Edinburgh in June to watch some of the titles set to take the international film world by storm throughout 2014. One of the world’s first international film festivals, it was founded in 1947 and is responsible for the success of some of the most critically-acclaimed films of our time, including The Hurt Locker. This year 156 film screenings took place from 18-29 June, 10 more than last year.

This year’s festival saw Ugly Betty star America Ferrera and Gregory’s Girl director Bill Forsyth take to the red carpet for the world premiere of British Crime Thriller, Hyena, which opened to critical acclaim. Ferrera stars in the film X/Y, which was also part of the festival programme.

The closing gala also featured the worldwide premier of We’ll Never Have Paris, a film written and co-directed by The Big Bang Theory's, Simon Helberg, who plays Howard Wolowitz in the show.

You can find out more about the success of this year’s event by visiting the
Edinburgh International Film Festival website.

Ryan Piers Williams and America Ferrera
Director Ryan Piers Williams and actress America Ferrera at the EIFF Opening Night gala on 18 June.
Credit: Pako Mera © EIFF

Ryan Piers Williams and America Ferrera
Davina and The Vagabonds

The Edinburgh Jazz Festival

From 18-27 July jazz music enthusiasts are in for a treat as Edinburgh opens its doors to some of the most influential jazz musicians in the business. Established in 1978 by banjo-player and guitarist Mike Hart, the festival quickly grew from just a few performances to ticketed events across the city.

Amongst the many events on offer the headline acts for this year are Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, with special guest Mel C; Van Morrison, who is set to wow with a selection of his classic hits; and music legend Bill Wyman.

The festival will open on 18 July, which is recognised as Mandela Day, with a concert at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre featuring three of South Africa’s greatest musical acts, all in honour of the late Nelson Mandela.

To find out more and buy tickets visit The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival website.

Fireworks at the closing concert for the International Festival.
Credit: Eoin Carey

The Edinburgh International Festival

Regarded as one of the world's best arts festivals, the Edinburgh International Festival has drawn crowds to Edinburgh for more than 60 years as it showcases the best the arts world has to offer.

Dance, theatre, music and opera form the backbone of this festival. A hotly-anticipated event this year is The James Plays. A new cycle of history plays from award-winning playwright Rona Munro, they chart three generations of Stewart Kings who ruled Scotland; James I, James II and James III.

There will also be various talks and workshops spanning everything from the culture of violence in the 20th century to ways we think about World War I and how we commemorate it. All events take place from 8-31 August. You can find out more on the Edinburgh International Festival website.

Fringe bus Credit: Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes over from 1-25 August when a cultural explosion spans the city. In 2013, 45,464 performances of 2,871 shows took place and 2014 is set to be 11% bigger with 49,497 performances and 3,193 shows.

Dating back to 1947, the Festival Fringe came to be when eight theatre groups performed on the 'fringe' of the Edinburgh International Festival. From that point it has evolved into an event that people travel from all over the world to be a part of. Although comedy is a huge part of the Festival Fringe, there is also an incredible programme of dance, music and theatre performances to be enjoyed.

This year, TV favourites Jimmy Carr and Alan Davies play Venue 150 at EICC, whilst hundreds of new acts and festival regulars play at venues across the city. The Festival Fringe 2014 programme is available across the city or you can visit the website or download the app to book tickets to any of the thousands of performances on offer.

Book festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival

From 9-25 August The Edinburgh International Book Festival sees Charlotte Square Gardens transform into a hub where authors and lovers of the written word of all ages gather to soak up the atmosphere.

Entry to the festival facility is free and you will find cafes, bars, a huge bookstore and the Guardian Spiegeltent to keep you entertained. As the Edinburgh International Book Festival embraces what is set to be a monumental year for Scotland, this is reflected in the programme.

The line-up includes George RR Martin, author of Game of Thrones, who will be discussing developments in the series. Author of War Horse, Michael Murpurgo will be presenting, as well as Jeremy Paxman. Haruki Murakami, one of Japan’s best-selling authors will be making his festival debut and launching his latest title, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.