THE future of the spectacular fireworks finale to Edinburgh’s festivals season has been secured until at least 2017.
Fergus Linehan, the incoming director of the Edinburgh International Festival, has announced an extension to the lucrative sponsorship deal with Virgin Money which was struck in 2011.
The sponsorship package, believed to be worth around £250,000 a year, was agreed following the withdrawal of Bank of Scotland from the event.
The move ensures that the vast display, which has been a fixture at the climax of the event since 1982, will not have to be scaled down or shelved in Mr Linehan’s first year.
However it is not yet known whether next year’s display will be held on a Sunday or Mondayevening. It will be the first time for 17 years that the EIF and the Fringe will run on the same dates.
The Fringe has traditionally finished on the August Bank Holiday Monday and the EIF has confirmed that next year’s event will finish on the same date.
But it is understood talks are still on going with the various authorities involved in the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert over when it should be held.
Upwards of 250,000 revellers flock to various vantage points around the city for the finale, which features an open-air concert from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Princes Street Gardens and a display of more than 400,000 pyrotechnics.
The event used to be held on a Thursdayevening but was moved to a Saturday in a bid to attract a bigger audience, only to be moved again to a Sunday night after it attracted much more disorder involving drunken teenagers.
The Festival launched an international hunt for new backers after Bank of Scotland called a halt to its involvement in 2010.
The deal with Virgin Money, which is also the main financial backer of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is believed to be one of the most lucrative in the arts in Scotland.
Paul Lloyd, marketing director at Virgin Money, said: “Virgin Money is extremely delighted to announce a three year extension to our sponsorship of the Edinburgh International Festival’s fireworks concert.
“We pride ourselves on being an important part of the community and the concert is world renowned and enjoyed by so many people from a variety of backgrounds. It has something for everyone.
“The Fireworks Concert is a fitting way to close the Edinburgh International Festival and we are extremely proud to play our part in bringing people together to celebrate what makes Edinburgh such an exciting place to live, work and visit.”
Mr Linehan said: “The fireworks concert is such a strong, spectacular and incredibly popular event with residents and visitors to the city’s festivals.
“It’s terrific that Virgin Money has signed up to support the event’s future and I look forward to joining in bringing together this impressive finale to the end of Edinburgh’s summer Festival season in the future.”