A2 Reading Test

Read a text about The Edinburgh festival, and for questions 1 to 10, fill in each gap with ONE word.

A really popular summer festival in the UK

One of the most popular summer festivals in the UK is the Edinburgh Festival. It isn’t actually one festival; eight festivals are held in the city simultaneously, including the Art Festival, the Book Festival, the International Festival, the Fringe and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The Edinburgh Festival has happened in August every year since 1947, except for 2020. The idea for a festival came from Rudolf Bing, an Austrian who loved and sponsored the arts. Bing was the general manager of the famous Opera House at Glyndebourne in the South of England. He wanted to organise an international festival of music and opera to help fund the Opera House. Different cities were considered, including Oxford, but finally, Edinburgh, which already had a long history of festivals, was chosen.

Two important events took place during the first International Festival. Firstly, a week-long film festival was organised by the Edinburgh Film Guild. Secondly, eight theatre groups arrived uninvited. They were not allowed to perform in the International Festival, so they set up their shows in other venues in the city. That became the ‘Edinburgh Festival Fringe’.

The Fringe Festival is now the largest of the festivals. In 2018, it featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. There are circus, music, dance, comedy, theatre performances and much more. Comedy is the most common performance: over a third of the shows are comedy.

A popular event of the Military Festival is the Tattoo. It takes place at the castle each night. Military musicians from across the world perform, and there is a great light and fireworks display. Another popular event is its grand finale: a classical music concert in Princes Street Gardens, when fireworks shoot into the sky, in time to the music.

Attending the festival is a great experience, but planning ahead is a good idea. Hundreds of thousands of people attend each year, so you’ll need to book accommodation and tickets for popular shows in advance. But don’t plan too much! You’ll find out about great, little-known shows and performers while you are there, and you’ll be disappointed if you are too busy to attend.


Reading comprehension test

1 The Edinburgh Festival is not a single festival; there are in fact festivals.

2 The first Edinburgh Festival was organised by Rudolf Bing.

3 Edinburgh was probably chosen because of its of festivals.

4 The festival was organised to take place at the same time as Bing's first festival.

5 The Edinburgh Festival started in 1947 but was unplanned.

6 The largest festival in August is the Festival.

7 There are more performances at the Fringe than other performances.

8 The is a famous event of the Military Festival.

9 The last performance at the festival is a with fireworks.

10 The writer advises visitors to buy tickets for before the festival.