It opened with a Bloom and ended with a familar “Boom!”. Last night around 250,000 people watched the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert bring the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival to a close.
It was another good year for the festival at the box office. This year, the EIF reported taking a new box-office record of £4.3 million. The previous box office record from last year was £4.2 million.
Adding to the sense that the EIF is in good financial health, Virgin Money announced after the show that it will continue to sponsor the annual festival fireworks display for another three years. Virgin Money has supported the event since 2011.
In all, over 2,020 artists from 40 nations gave performances at this year's Festival.
The International Festival programme celebrated moments of repertoire from the first Festival (Verdi’s Macbeth, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang) companies that played an important role in the Festival’s history (Nederlands Dans Theatre, The Old Vic) and individual artists who have made a unique contribution to past Festivals (Alfred Brendel, Barry McGovern, Mitsuko Uchida).
In scale the Festival ranged from the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom, to the miniature sensation that was Vox Motus’s Flight.
‘As the curtain falls on the 70th anniversary International Festival,” said Festival Director, Fergus Linehan, “we are struck by the generosity, enthusiasm and endless curiosity of Festival goers from Edinburgh and all over the world. We are hugely grateful to them and the thousands of artists who have lit up our stages and streets over the past month’.
Janet Archer, CEO of Creative Scotland said: ‘Each year, hundreds of exceptional artists bring their work to Edinburgh, reflecting the world around us, demonstrating how creativity contributes to our society, our economy and how it brings us together as nations and as people. In this 70th anniversary year, we’ve seen an inspirational mix of Scottish talent, alongside a fantastic international programme, throwing a spotlight on Scotland as a creative nation of global standing.’
Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh’s Culture and Communities Convener and Festivals Champion, called the 70th anniversary events “a summer to mark all summers and a celebration of Edinburgh, its people, and of courses the many performers and talented individuals who join us year upon year, decade upon decade.”
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, praised the Festival for bringing “compelling and significant work” to Edinburgh boosting tourism and the creative industries.
“I am proud to support its continued growth through the Expo Fund, the £10 million we will contribute towards a new Edinburgh performance venue, and the extra £5 million we will invest in Edinburgh's major festivals over the next five years,” she said.