Big bangs, Bernstein, and bubbly - what you can expect from the International Festival's closing fireworks concert.
First thing's first, when is it?
After a busy month of cramming in all the opera, classical and contemporary music, theatre, and dance you can muster, the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert brings the International Festival to a close on Monday 27 August with a concert featuring soprano Lucy Crowe and tenor Nicky Spence starting at 9.00 pm, and the fireworks part starting at approximately 9.30 pm.
This is when Edinburgh’s streets begin to empty again, as its festival season starts to wind down and all our visitors, performers, and offstage hands filter home. We recommend sticking around for this final party – it’s a great time for everyone who came to visit Edinburgh’s festivals (and all the people who have been working behind-the-scenes) to come together, relax, and celebrate our beautiful festival city with one last big bang.
Marking the end of festival season with a spectacular bang is a long-held tradition in Edinburgh.The Scotsman
And just how big a bang are we talking?
We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves on this one. Our fireworks concert is one of the largest in the world, with 400,000 fireworks, 4 tonnes of explosives and 15 miles of cable being brought in to light up Edinburgh’s skies.
And it’s not just the scale that makes our fireworks special. There’s a lot of artistry that goes into it too, as each explosion is choreographed by international fireworks artists Pyrovision to match the music being played. We even have a conductor for the fireworks (you might not see them from the audience, but they’re there behind the scenes making sure each explosion happens according to time).
The concert will start at 9.00 pm and the fireworks will start at approximately 9.30 pm.
Wow, I've never seen choreographed fireworks before! What music will be playing?
The first half of the concert begins at 9.00pm and will look back on our Leonard Bernstein celebrations, which mark the much-loved composer’s birth centenary this year. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will play some of his best foot-tapping tunes, with UK opera stars tenor Nicky Spence and soprano Lucy Crowe joining them onstage to sing the parts of Tony and Maria, the doomed lovers from the iconic musical West Side Story.
After the interval, the fireworks are launched into the sky at 9.30pm complemented by Gustav Holst’s epic The Planets. Just imagine those celestial explosions sprinkled across the horizon while the swells of a trumpet conjure images of the mythical god Mars. We can’t imagine anything more perfect.
And if you listen hard enough, some of the tunes might remind you of something. That’s because, according to some, Holst’s Suite was one of the inspirations behind the Star Wars “Imperial March”.
Sounds kind of familiar, right?
It really does! Where is the best place to watch all of this from?
You can see the fireworks and the concert right at the foot of the castle in Princes Street Gardens. It’s conveniently central, and makes the perfect fairy tale setting for the end of the International Festival. You have the castle towering above you, hopefully bathed in pink from one of Edinburgh’s famously gorgeous sunsets before it gets dark enough to shoot fireworks from its battlements - including our famous waterfall, which cascades down the hill towards you.
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Sounds great! And should I bring anything with me?
One of the great things to do is pack a picnic. The Princes Street Gardens is a beautiful green space, so make the most of it during the day with your choice of bubbly and snacks, then pack some blankets and a flask of whisky for getting cosy under the stars later.
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Marking this in my diary as we speak. Where can I buy tickets?
Right here! Tickets are available from £15.50. Bandstand tickets and priority entry tickets are now sold out. We'll see you in the gardens!
And just to recap, here's the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert 2018 in numbers...