Edinburgh International Festival to go outdoors for 2021

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EDINBURGH International Festival has today announced a re-imagined return of the festival which will see both the audience and performers attend in an outdoor setting.

The festival which is due to take place from August 7th-29th this year will be using outdoor venues in order to “safely” reunite artists and audiences.

The Festival organisers have said they are working with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and other relevant authorities to implement appropriate Covid safety measures. 

Artists Impression of outdoor venues for the Edinburgh International Festival - Scottish News
Impression of a performance venue to be used at Edinburgh’s Old College Quad.

A selection of performance spaces across the city will include three temporary outdoor pavilions designed especially for live performance.

The pavilions will be situated at iconic city locations including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad and will feature covered concert stages and socially distanced seating.

The organisers say that these include shorter performances with no intervals, physical distancing, regular cleaning, and contactless ticketing.

Full details of the Festival’s security measures will be published in the coming months. 

Artists Impression of outdoor venues for the Edinburgh International Festival (Interior) - Scottish News
Live performances to be staged in bespoke outdoor pavilions in iconic locations across Scotland’s capital, including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director at Edinburgh International Festival said: “We appreciate that these first steps back to live performances will be for audiences closer to home but are delighted to offer a parallel programme of digital work for those further afield.

“We are hugely grateful to the artists who have agreed to come on this journey with us, the stakeholders, donors, and sponsors who have stood by us through a tough year and our audiences who have cheered us along throughout.

“We look forward to sharing full details of the programme in early June.”

The International Festival will release a selection of high-quality streamed performances free of charge during each week of the Festival, for audiences in Edinburgh and around the world to enjoy from home.  

Artists Impression of outdoor venues for the Edinburgh International Festival - Scottish News
The International Festival is working with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and other relevant authorities to implement appropriate Covid safety measures

Full details of the 2021 programme, which spans opera, orchestral and chamber music, theatre and contemporary music, will be announced on Wednesday 2 June before general booking opens on Friday 11 June.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said:  “The Edinburgh International Festival is an explosion of performing arts, cultural exploration and sheer exhilaration that takes place across the city.

“After the challenging year we’ve all had and the disappointment of not being able to enjoy the festival in the usual way last year, it will be fantastic for audiences to share in the live performance experience again with an exceptional outdoor pavilions programme for local audiences alongside the Festival’s online offering.

“Public safety will of course be a priority, and this year’s line-up promises to be very special. We can all very much look forward to the release of the programme details in June.”