Guide to the Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks

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THE capital’s annual fireworks display marks the end of the festival season in spectacular style. If you plan to watch next month’s pyrotechnic extravaganza, here’s what you need to know

ORIGINS

Around a quarter of a million people are expected to gather across the city to take in the fireworks at the end of the next month. It’s an annual tradition that stretches back to 1982, meaning that this year’s show will be the festival’s 34th display. Sir John Drummond, then director of the Edinburgh International Festival, founded the fireworks celebration to bridge the gap between the EIF and the capital’s local audience.

WHEN?

The fireworks concert takes place on Monday 29 August, 9.30pm.

WHERE?

The concert will take place at the Ross Theatre Bandstand at Princes Street Gardens. But the fireworks will be visible across the city.

THE MUSIC

The concert to accompany the show celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with interpretations of music from Romeo and Juliet and its contemporary equivalent, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Ballet music from Prokofiev’s score of Romeo and Juliet will feature alongside The Symphonic Dances from Bernstein’s musical. The show will conclude with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. Estonian composer Kristiina Poska will conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Forth One will broadcast the concert for the benefit of those not attending.

TICKETS

Tickets for the concert, which runs to 45 minutes, cost up to £30. The cheapest entry fee (£13.50) gives you standing access to a section of Princes Street Gardens either side of the bandstand; £18 gives you priority access to the same area, meaning you can get the best vantage point first. For seats in the main seating area and the path above it, you’ll need to pay £30. Children under five go free, but must acquire tickets before entering. Within the Princes Street Gardens grounds, an audience of up to 12,000 is expected to attend.

VANTAGE POINTS

For those unable to get tickets for the concert, there are numerous spots that offer a great view of the fireworks. Inverleith Park and Arthur’s Seat are perhaps the most popular – both give terrific vantage points of the display from afar. (Inverleith Park is especially popular with families.) Calton Hill, the Mound and the Meadows are great alternatives.

SAFETY TIPS AND ETIQUETTE

Wear layers and bring a waterproof jacket, since the evening will likely get chilly by the end. Concertgoers with tickets are advised not to go to the gardens with glass bottles. Picnics are allowed, even encouraged, but since the grounds will get dark it’s best not to bring tables and other pieces of outdoor furniture that others could trip over. If you’re going to a park with friends to watch the fireworks, go in large groups and take a torch. Failing that, some smartphones have a high-intensity beam.

• For more information, visit http://www.eif.co.uk/virginmoneyfireworks

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