24 hours at the Edinburgh Festival
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Catch a show at the Edinburgh Festival
3 pm: With three festivals running through August, Edinburgh has a lot to offer in the entertainment department. The Fringe (August 7–31) is the world's largest arts festival, featuring comedy, contemporary music, theater, and dance of hugely varying standards (you have been warned). The Edinburgh International Festival is a much more highbrow affair, with classical music, theater, opera, and dance performances (August 14–September 6), while the International Book Festival is a low-key but hugely popular event for cultivated types held in leafy Charlotte Square in the city's busy West End (August 13–31).
Highlights from the 2009 festivals: On August 8, David Byrne, the Scottish-born former Talking Heads frontman, will perform songs from his 2008 album with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Ricky Gervais, creator of The Office and Extras, talks racism, homophobia, and the Bible in his Science stand-up tour on August 25—not for the easily offended. Rebel of the ballet world Michael Clark (pictured) returns to the festival for the first time in 20 years as choreographer of a new work, Rocks Holy Trinity/Radical Revolutionary, influenced by 1970s icons David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed (August 28–29). And if you don't manage to score tickets for any of these, there are plenty of other events—around 32,000, in fact—to keep you amused.
For more information on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival, and for more activities in Edinburgh, see our Edinburgh travel guide.