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The International Festival welcomes audiences back to live performance with temporary outdoor pavilions throughout the city.

We are thrilled to announce our reimagined Festival for 2021, marking the return of live performance to Scotland’s capital city after over a year of silenced theatres and concert halls. Taking place from 7 to 29 August, the 2021 International Festival will use bespoke, temporary outdoor pavilions in iconic, easily accessible spaces throughout the city to safely reunite our artists and audiences to rediscover the magic of live performance.

Our temporary outdoor pavilions, found at three locations including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad, will feature covered concert stages and socially distanced seating to create a beautiful setting for audiences to safely enjoy live music, opera and theatre once more.

The health and safety of the entire Festival community is at the heart of our plans for this year’s festival. That’s why we are working with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and other relevant authorities to implement appropriate Covid safety measures. These will include shorter performances with no intervals, physical distancing, regular cleaning and contactless ticketing. We will publish full details of our security and safety measures in the coming months.

Impression of a performance venue to be used at the Old College Quad

Artist impression of our temporary performance venue at Old College Quad

While we are looking forward to the prospect of bringing the Festival City to life once more, we appreciate that not everyone will be able to attend our performances in person this year. To ensure that everyone can enjoy a slice of the magic, wherever they are in the world, we will release a selection of high-quality streamed performances, free of charge, during each week of the Festival.

Since Edinburgh’s summer festivals in 2020 were officially cancelled a year ago, we have received extraordinary support from so many people. As our Festival Director Fergus Linehan says, “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.”

Welcome back to live performance, welcome back to your Festival.

Full details of our 2021 programme, which spans opera, orchestral and chamber music, theatre and contemporary music, will be announced on Wednesday 2 June. Priority booking for International Festival members opens on Tuesday 1 June before general booking opens on Friday 11 June.


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