Computer-generated images have been released showing how a New Town square will be totally transformed for the 70th anniversary curtain-raiser of the Edinburgh International Festival.
More than 40,000 people are expected to flood into St Andrew Square to experience Bloom, a two-hour sound and light event lined up for the festival’s opening weekend.
The “digital constellation” is being created by the company 59 Productions following previous opening spectaculars staged on Edinburgh Castle rock and the Usher Hall.
Three sides of the square will be turned into vast canvases for animations and projections celebrating the origins of the festival, which was instigated in the aftermath of the Second World War, with an ambition to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit.”
Thousands of free tickets allowing entry to the square from 9pm each evening were snapped up immediately when they were released earlier this month. However other festival-goers will be able to see the 20-minute display next Friday and Saturday from 10.30pm by queuing up.
Leo Warner, founding director of 59 Productions, said: “‘Bloom is a jubilant aesthetic and musical ‘mix tape’, an invitation for residents and visitors to join us in St Andrew Square at any time over the two nights of the event, and enjoy a sense of the moment of genesis in which Edinburgh first created the notion of the festival city.”
Festival director Fergus Linehan said: “Since 1947 the International Festival has welcomed the world to Edinburgh, creating an electric atmosphere in this city which has radiated back out across the globe.
“That energy has transformed Edinburgh and sparked not only the development of the Festival City we know today, but the creation of countless other festivals around the world.
“We’ll experience that transformative power first-hand in Bloom, as 59 Productions create a digital constellation in the centre of our city that places our story and Edinburgh’s people at its heart.”
The staging of Bloom has received financial backing from finance giants Standard Life, as well £150,000 in support from the Scottish Government and its events agency EventScotland.
Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland’s is a welcoming and progressive nation and this is particularly demonstrated in the arts.
“In 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival boldly invited artists from across Europe to perform. 70 years on, we’re recognised as a festival nation that welcomes performers and audiences from every corner of the globe.
“We boosted our Festivals EXPO Fund by a further £300,000 to mark Edinburgh’s 70th anniversary as a festival city. I’m delighted £100,000 of this has contributed towards Bloom, an ambitious, inspiring and artistic visual representation of those 70 years.
“It’s a fitting tribute to Edinburgh’s heritage as the city which inspired cities around the world to embrace arts festivals.”