Edinburgh International Festival
Where is it? Edinburgh City Centre, Edinburgh, Lothian, EH1 2NE Scotland
Less well known than its more showy Fringe sibling, this is the original and 'official' festival of classical and contemporary music, dance, theatre, opera and visual arts.
As well as the likes of Scottish Ballet and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the event hosts some of the most talented theatre, opera and ballet troupes from around the globe, plus some impressive solo artists. During the three-week programme, you can pick from a lavish, full-scale ballet production, Shakespeare with a twist, or a smaller-scale performance by a string quartet or a brilliant soprano. A themed range of masterclasses, exhibitions and workshops are scheduled around the live performances.
The best bit, arguably, is the finale. The festival closes with what the organisers claim is the biggest and most spectacular fireworks concert on the planet: 100,000 fireworks, tonnes of explosives and hundreds of firing sequences, all launched from Edinburgh's iconic castle, and intricately choreographed to a set of rousing tunes from a live orchestra. Now that's what we call going out with a bang!