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Celebrating the people who have supported a decade of unmissable Virgin Money Fireworks Concerts in Edinburgh.

As Scottish Daily Mail put it in 2016,

There really is no better way to celebrate the Edinburgh Festivals drawing to a close, than watching the magnificent closing fireworks.

This community event is enjoyed annually by an audience of around 250,000 people. It features over 400,000 fireworks launched from specific sites in and around Edinburgh Castle, making it one of the biggest fireworks concerts in the world. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra brings its finest conductors and soloists to perform an invariably magnificent concert in Princes Street Gardens and fireworks artists Pyrovision choreograph a display to the music.

For the last 10 years, this immensely popular International Festival event has been supported by Virgin Money and 2020 would have been the final year of their generous sponsorship. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Virgin Money for all their support, and celebrate by looking back over some of our favourite moments from the last 10 years.

Louise Hodges, Head of Consumer Communications at Virgin Money, said: “We have supported the Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks Concert over the past decade and have always loved seeing the pure joy and excitement this impressive event brings to Edinburgh every year. The fireworks have created so many magical memories for people and have been a spectacular way to close the main festival season. It has been a pleasure to revisit some of the brilliant moments from previous years.”

Blue fireworks illuminate the sky as an orchestra plays on a red stage below them.

2011 Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

© Rob McDougall

2011 2011’s concert welcomed Virgin Money as the new partner with a concert of fiery music inspired by Asia, Arabia and the east conducted by Garry Walker.

2012 In 2012 the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee with a performance of Walton’s noble Orb and Sceptre march, which was written for her coronation.

A man and young boy sit holding a button surrounded by fireworks.

The Firestarter gets a tour of the set up for the 2013 Virgin Money Fireworks Concert at Edinburgh Castle

© Stuart Armitt

2013 In 2013 the 30th International Festival Fireworks Concert had Musorgsky's dazzling Pictures at an Exhibition as the centrepiece.

2014 The varied programme for 2014 took in the majesty of Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries', before an electrifying finale set to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, prompting reviewer Thom Dibdin to write “the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert – must be one, if not the, favourite event at the Edinburgh International Festival” (All Edinburgh Theatre). The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert Poster Competition offered primary school aged children the chance to have their artwork displayed throughout Edinburgh and get behind the scenes of the fireworks set-up.

Three children stand showing off their Virgin Money Fireworks Concert poster designs on a grassy bank.

Winners of the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert Poster Competition

© Aly Wight

2015 2015 saw Garry Walker conduct his fifth Virgin Money Fireworks Concert. This year launched the Virgin Money Schools Concert, which invites schools across Edinburgh to enjoy a dedicated concert, including a performance by The Edinburgh Secondary Schools Orchestra and SCO VIBE – a fusion orchestra project, bringing together young people from any musical background.

A crowd of children gather in Princes Street Gardens watching a youth orchestra play on a big red stage.

Virgin Money Schools Concert in 2015

© Alex Aitchison

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a spectacular display in the skies over Edinburgh Castle brought the curtain down on the annual festival as a quarter of a million revellers watched the fireworks finale.

The Herald

2016 2016 continued the International Festival’s Shakespearean celebrations, commemorating 400 years since his death with Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

2017 Renowned Scottish folk singer Karen Matheson joined the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for the 2017 Virgin Money Fireworks Concert to give the world premiere of a new work composed for her by Donald Shaw.

Fireworks illuminate the sky above a crowd watching an orchestra perform on a red stage.

2016 Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

© Mihaela Bodlovic

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Still my fav after all these years ❤. Thank you for another awesome show. #waterfall #VMFireworks

Gemma, Twitter

2018 In 2018 Clark Rundell and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra celebrated the centenary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein with a selection of music from West Side Story – before venturing into deepest space with Holst’s The Planets.

An orchestra performs on stage led by a conductor as two singers embrace in front of them.

2018 Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

© David Wilkinson

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The skies exploded with noise and a riot of colour

The Scotsman

2019 Edinburgh-born mezzo soprano Catriona Morison, joined the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a selection of music from Bizet’s Carmen in 2019, followed by magical music by Glinka, Dukas and Berlioz.

Fireworks light up the night sky as a crowd watched an orchestra play on a stage. A man stands to take a photograph.

2019 Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

© Gaelle Beri

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My busy weekend ended with a bang! How amazing were the @edintfest fireworks last night!? Thank you @VirginMoney for the invitation #VMfireworks

Lauren, Twitter

“It’s a huge shame that we weren’t able to go out with a bang this year but I would like to thank Virgin Money for their incredible support of the festival for the last decade; it is testament to Virgin Money’s commitment to the city that we have been able to benefit from their support for so long.

We are now going to take a little time to imagine the future for this event so that we can continue to celebrate this moment with everyone who helps makes the festival an international success.”
Francesca Hegyi, Executive Director Edinburgh International Festival

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