Everything you need to know about Edinburgh Festival Carnival

Marking the start of this year’s festival season, more than 800 energetic performers donning flamboyant outfits from around the world will bring the rhythm and celebrations to the heart of the Capital during the Edinburgh Festival Carnival.

The Edinburgh Festival Carnival parade will be on Sunday, July 14. Picture: Contributed

The free family-friendly carnival will take place on Sunday, 14 July, with the dazzling parade starting at the top of the Mound at 2pm before making its way to West Princes Street Garden for 3pm.

The procession will feature music, dance, puppets and acrobatics by performers from more than 20 countries, including India-based Goa Dance Asso, Zambia’s Barefeet Theatre and Belmont Freetown Performing Arts Company from Trinidad as well as Pulse of the Place from Edinburgh.

Between 3pm and 5pm, Princes Street Gardens will host an afternoon of dance, acrobatics and interactive children’s activities.

The world’s music will beat from the Ross Band Stand, while circus acts, Chinese dragons and cabaret performers will put on a carnival extravaganza below Edinburgh Castle.

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Carnival producer and community manager for the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival Emma Picken expects 20,000 people to attend.

She said: “This year we have had 13 international artists in residence for three months and so we’ve been out working in various youth groups and school around the city, so we are looking forward to welcoming lots of the particpants from these workshops into the parade. A highlight from the workshops is Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre in Gilmerton.”

She added: “It is an event that is open to everyone and one of the joys of the carnival being on the street is that it is completely open so there are no barriers or fees.

“People can come and enjoy such an extraordinary mix of artists, costumes, design and music – and there really is something for everyone.”

With the theme of the World in One City, the 8th annual carnival will be bigger than ever as its organisers – the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival – also present five concerts across four days for the first time.

Friday, 12 July

On Friday circus groups from across Scotland will be joined by Taurin Circus from Hungary, Circo Fantazzico from Costa Rica and Enjoy, from Italy, as they put on an hour-long show of impressive skills entitled Circus! Circus! Circus! at the St Brides Centre from 6.30pm.

At 9pm that evening, the venue will host The World Turned Upside Down, a fast-paced two-hour revue which includes drama and dance from groups from Italy, Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands and South Africa.

Saturday, 13 July

The next day, The World in One City will run at the centre.

It is an exciting hour packed with shows by performers from all over the world providing performances of folk, hip-hop and contemporary music and dance and street arts, starting at 5pm.

Between 8.30pm and 11pm that evening, the glitzy Black and Red Cabaret of Chaos show is an intimate and fun theatrical event with edge-of-your-seat performances that will leave audience members eager to get up on the dance floor.

Sunday, 14 July

Following the main parade spectacle on the Mound at 2pm, spirited music performances will run between 3pm and 4.30pm at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens, where there is sure to be an electric atmosphere.

There will be a variety of dance, circus, street theatre and a special children’s area throughout the gardens.

Monday, 15 July

The Chinese Arts and Cultural Show, running between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at the Festival Theatre, will be a special celebration of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. There will be a spectacle of dragon and lion puppets, dance, music and performers from China, presented by the Edinburgh Chinese Art and Culture Community.


Meninos do Morumbi (Brazil), Circo Fantazztico (Costa Rica), Goa Dance Asso (India), J-Flag, (Jamaica), Belmont Freetown Performing Arts Company (Trinidad), Cut & Clear Productions (Trinidad), Barefeet Theatre (Zambia), Miami One Boulevard Carnival, (USA), Artscape Theatre, (South Africa), KalentuRa (the Netherlands), Bombrando (Portugal), Enjoy (Italy), Taurin Circus (Hungary), Gwanaval (Martinique), Soul City (Reunion Island), MD Company (Martinique), Karnival of Kulture (Germany), La Paranza del Geco (Italy), D’Art Holland (Netherlands), Samba Resielle (France), All My Ladies (Spain), Edinburgh Chinese Art & Culture Community, Nepal Scotland Association - Kathmandu in Edinburgh, Pulse of the Place and many more.


2pm parade begins at the top of the Mound to Princes Street Gardens

3pm – 4.30pm music performances at the Ross Band Stand

3.30pm – 5pm dance, music, street arts, circus and special children’s area at Princes Street Gardens

For more information and to purchase concert tickets visit the Edinburgh Festival Carnival website here.