Festival fireworks open the 18th Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama in August 1964.

Edinburgh International Festival through the years: Here are 18 fascinating pictures of performers and events from the 1950s and 1960s

After two years of cancellations, scaling back and social distancing, the Edinburgh International Festival is back – here we take a look at what the feast of arts looked like during the first 20 years of its history.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 3:32 pm

Taking place (almost) every August, the Edinburgh International Festival is a celebration of culture that sees notable artists from the world of music and performing arts invited to showcase their work in the Scottish Capital.

The first event, then called the 'International Festival of Music and Drama' took place in 1947, with Austrian-born impresario Rudolf Bing acting as festival director and head of programming.

It featured orchestral, choral and chamber music, Lieder and song, opera, ballet, drama, film, and Scottish 'piping and dancing' on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.

It has taken place every year since, other than 2020 when it was completely cancelled due to the global pandemic.

The original idea for the Festival was to enrich cultural life following the Second World War, and it was first financed by £10,000 in winning that Lord Rosebery made from his horse Ocean Swell - a sum that was matched by Edinburgh Town Council.

Since then it has grown in strength, and is joined by a number of other festivals during August, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival and, most notably, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Here are 18 pictures to take you back to the events held over half a century ago.

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