No Edinburgh Festival Fireworks, But Free Livestreamed Concert in Princes Street Garden

Submitted by edg on Wed, 24 Aug '22 9.06pm
The Philadelphia Orchestra & Yannick Nezet-Seguin
Todd Rosenberg

For the third year running the Edinburgh International Festival will not be climaxing with the traditional Festival Fireworks Concert under the castle in West Princes Street Garden

However, the Festival will be welcoming visitors this Saturday to the Ross Bandstand - where the Festival Fireworks Concert is traditionally staged - for an afternoon livestream of the one-off Thank You, Edinburgh concert.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra, currently in residence at the International Festival, at 3pm on the penultimate day of the International Festival.

Tickets to see the free, in-person concert at the Playhouse have long been snapped up. It was initially called the "Anniversary Concert" in the Festival programme when we first flagged it as one to look out for in June. 

The Edinburgh International Festival will also be giving out goodie bags to the first 100 people congregating for the livestream at the Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Garden. The Festival web site says seats will be available from 2pm.

The Edinburgh International Festival-branded "snack pack" will contain a drink and sweet and savoury snacks supplied by the International Festival’s official partners The Pantry and Bon Accord.

Festival Fireworks Concert

The large-scale Opening and Closing Events are the flagship public events of the Edinburgh International Festival, the ones that most people in Edinburgh will remember for years after. This year's Opening Event at Murrayfield, MACRO, got a very positive reception, but with the Festival Fireworks Concert attracting an audience of around 250,000 each year for its massive pyrotechnic display, it will be missed.

The year 2020 would have been the final year of a 10-year sponsorship partnership with Virgin Money, however the event was cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.

The Fireworks Concert was cancelled again in a reformatted Edinburgh International Festival in 2021, due to  pandemic restrictions.

The Fireworks were then cancelled again in this the Edinburgh International Festival's 75th anniversary year. A spokesperson for the Festival told EG in June: "The planning time for an event with hundreds of thousands of attendees is extensive and at the time we were required to make the decision we were not confident that we could deliver it within the guidance at the time."

No new sponsorship deal has been announced for the Festival Fireworks Concert in coming years and one can't help speculating that the decision to cancel the iconic fireworks event was as much a financial one as a health one. 

In contrast, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo ploughed on with its large-scale production this year. The Tattoo also announced cancellation of its show in 2021, two and half months before it was due to start, due to uncertainty around health restrictions.

The Tattoo's excellent new show Voices features over 800 performers and an audience of thousands each night in its arena in front of the castle. It also has fireworks (although nothing like on the scale of the Festival's famous event).

So no fireworks this year, but at least you will be able to hear the orchestra play.

"Thank You Edinburgh" Concert Programme

During the course of the 75-minute concert, the Philadelphia Orchestra will play:

  • Rossini Overture to The Thieving Magpie
  • Coleman Seven O’Clock Shout, Puccini's ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Gianni Schicchi
  • Puccini ‘Vissi d’arte’ from Tosca
  • Gershwin ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess
  • Arlen ‘Over the Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz
  • Price Third movement from Symphony No. 1
  • Dvořák Carnival Overture
  • Simon Fate Now Conquers
  • Beethoven Fourth movement from Symphony No. 7

More on the Edinburgh International Festival