Celebrating 75 years of the Edinburgh Festivals with a temporary exhibition of archival film footage

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh International and Fringe Festivals this year, we’re announcing a very exciting new exhibition on Capital Collections of archive festival film footage. The archive footage belongs to the BBC and is available to view on Capital Collections for a limited time only.

Image taken from archival film footage, reproduced by permission of BBC

The film clips show a 1960s Edinburgh in black and white, but alive with activity and excitement for festival shows and performers. View the hustle and bustle of festival preparations, residents and tourists, and famous faces including Marlene Dietrich arriving at Edinburgh Airport, Tom Courtenay performing Hamlet and Yehudi Menuhin receiving the freedom of Edinburgh.

Commentators reflect on the effects the festival’s first twenty years have had on the city and its citizens, its “cosmopolitanisation” and its new-found “creature comforts”, claiming a new status for Edinburgh as one of Europe’s cultural capitals.

This online exhibition of short film clips will be available to view until the end of August 2022 on Capital Collections. In true Festival spirit, catch it while you can!

This exhibition is part of a wider project in collaboration with the British Library and the Living Knowledge Network of libraries on the theme of Breaking the News. We’re grateful to the BBC for supporting the project and allowing us to host the film footage on Capital Collections.

Exposure! A photographic essence of the Tattoo

Everyone has heard of the Tattoo and if you are lucky enough to be going you will be looking forward to the greatest show on earth.  In anticipation, or if you did not get a ticket, then you can still get a flavour of the Tattoo from the photographic exhibition in Central Library.

The photos by Martin Scott Powell are dramatic, thought-provoking and stunningly beautiful.  They capture the spirit of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo with its fantastic performers to its world-beating backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

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This year’s theme is ‘East meets West’ showcasing performers from all corners of the globe.

Thirteen million people have seen the Tattoo to date, so that is testament to its enduring appeal.  If you want to have a glimpse of that appeal and experience the ‘wow’ factor of these photos the exhibition is on until 29th August.

There are even free postcards to send home to friends and family to show them what they are missing.

Going out with a bang


Last night saw the annual spectacular firework display marking the end of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

We’ll be uploading more photographs from the event on Capital Collections very soon, but in the meantime as a taster we’ve put together a collection of some stunning images for you to enjoy on Flickr.

The Edinburgh Room has a vast collection of material (programmes, leaflets, flyers, reviews…) from Edinburgh Festivals past and present.