Edinburgh Jazz Festival sees record ticket sales

Zoe Rahman of the Zoe Rahman Trio 'played one of the 150 concerts that took place at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2015. Picture: Conrtibuted

Zoe Rahman of the Zoe Rahman Trio 'played one of the 150 concerts that took place at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2015. Picture: Conrtibuted

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THE Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, the curtain-raiser to the capital’s summer arts extravaganza, has reported its best ever box office return as the final shows were staged last night.

Organisers have revealed ticket sales of more than 35,000 - more than 15 per cent up on the 2014 event, which was the most successful in its 37-year-history.

Our figures are down to the craft we have put in

Fiona Alexander

More than half a million pounds was already taken at the box office - surpassing last year’s tally - with 14 final-day shows still to be staged.

The festival’s overall audience has been boosted by more than 50 per cent since the event was moved to a new date away from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which it had traditionally clashed with.

This summer sees the biggest ever season of events in Edinburgh, with food, fashion and art festivals also being held this month ahead of the start of the Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival in early August.

The jazz festival was attracting around 22,000 attendees each year when it was held at the end of July and beginning of August, but has leapt up by several thousand each year since moving dates in 2011.

Another 30,000 people flocked to the two big free events organised by the jazz festival this month - a Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket and a festival carnival on Princes Street.

More than 150 concerts were staged across venues ranging from the historic Tron Kirk, the Queen’s Hall and the Festival Theatre to pop-up venues in St Andrew Square and George Square. Star turns included Curtis Stigers, Jools Holland, Songhoy Blues, the McCrary Sisters and George Benson, who closed the event last night.

Co-producer Fiona Alexander said: “We have had an unprecedented number of sell-outs concerts in a programme that has boasted top quality jazz and blues musicians from over 16 countries.

“I think our figures are down to the craft that we’ve put into the festival, the kind of concentration we have put on our audiences, and the way we’ve used our special venues.

“We’ve nurtured the festival very strongly in the last couple of years, developed it and changed it quite a bit, and are giving people what they are looking for while delivering some very high quality and challenging music.”

More than 150 concerts were staged across venues ranging from the historic Tron Kirk, the Queen’s Hall and the Festival Theatre to pop-up venues in St Andrew Square and George Square. Star turns included Curtis Stigers, Jools Holland, Songhoy Blues, the McCrary Sisters and George Benson, who closed the event last night.

Co-producer Roger Spence added: “The decision to move the festival into the tent in St Andrew Square has been vindicated by nightly ‘sold out’ signs, whilst the popularity of the Tron Kirk and George Square Garden shows has been maintained.

“All of our concerts at Festival Theatre have also exceeded sales expectations.

“This has been a year in which our blues programme has come of age, with a host of leading American musicians coming to Edinburgh for the first time, many exclusively for the festival.

“Amongst the success stories have been the collaborations between Edinburgh blues musicians and American blues musicians brought in especially for residencies.”

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