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70th Anniversary Edinburgh International Festival Draws to a Close

70th Anniversary Edinburgh International Festival Draws to a Close

The 2017 International Festival draws to a close this evening with the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, following a record year that celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh as a Festival city.

Over the past month, Festival goers in their hundreds of thousands have packed into theatres and concert halls to experience the work of some of the world's greatest artists and ensembles. The total sales of £4.3 million, represent a new box-office record for the International Festival.

In all over 2,020 world-class artists from 40 nations gave performances of outstanding quality and originality. The International Festival programme celebrated moments of repertoire from the first Festival (Verdi's Macbeth, Mendelssohn's Lobgesang) companies that played an important role in the Festival's history (Nederlands Dans Theatre, The Old Vic) and individual artists who have made a unique contribution to past Festivals (Alfred Brendel, Barry McGovern, Mitsuko Uchida). In scale the Festival ranged from the epic Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom, to the miniature sensation that was Vox Motus's Flight.

The entire city entered into the spirit of the anniversary, celebrating the ambition of the International Festival's founders and considering how those principals of generosity can be applied in today's world. The founders of the Festival were celebrated in film and music, with the First Minister unveiling a plaque to the first Festival Director Rudolph Bing and conductor Bruno Walter, both Jewish refugees. The principals of culturAl Cooperation and tolerance that they set out were revisited in Spirit of '47, a special programme of international collaboration, performance and discussion co-curated with the British Council.

A special place was given to opera with a programme that ranged from what has already been described as a 'legendary' performance of Wagner's Die Walküre with the RSNO to a spectacular staging of La bohème by the Festival's resident company, Teatro Regio Torino.

The International Festival continued to widen it's audience and it's geographical reach - in the music programme artists as diverse as Jarvis Cocker, PJ Harvey, Stephin Merritt, Anoushka Shankar and Karen Polwart made unique contributions, while in dance Boy Blue Entertainment scored two great successes - with Blak Whyte Gray at the Lyceum and Project R.E.B.E.L at Castlebrae Community High School.

Festival Director, Fergus Linehan said: 'As the curtain falls on the 70th anniversary International Festival we are struck by the generosity, enthusiasm and endless curiosity of Festival goers from Edinburgh and all over the world. We are hugely grateful to them and the thousands of artists who have lit up our stages and streets over the past month'.

Janet Archer, CEO of Creative Scotland said: 'Each year, hundreds of exceptional artists bring their work to Edinburgh, reflecting the world around us, demonstrating how creativity contributes to our society, our economy and how it brings us together as nations and as people. In this 70th anniversary year, we've seen an inspirational mix of Scottish talent, alongside a fantastic international programme, throwing a spotlight on Scotland as a creative nation of global standing.'

Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh's Culture and Communities Convener and Festivals Champion, said: 'It has been a record-breaking summer in Edinburgh and together the events formed one of the most collaborative and creative programmes in the International Festival's 70-year history. This really has been a summer to mark all summers and a celebration of Edinburgh, its people, and of courses the many performers and talented individuals who join us year upon year, decade upon decade. I don't think there is an atmosphere anywhere in the world that comes close to Edinburgh in August. Thanks must go to everyone who made this year's International Festival such a great success, the many people working hard behind the scenes to keep the city moving and looking its best, and the tens of thousands of visitors to Edinburgh. Thank you for celebrating with us.'

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: 'In its 70th anniversary year the Edinburgh International Festival has brought compelling and significant work to challenge and captivate residents and visitors against the spectacular backdrop of our capital city. The International Festival contributes strongly to Scotland's culture and economy and is key to the growth of our tourism and creative industries. I am proud to support its continued growth through the Expo Fund, the £10 million we will contribute towards a new Edinburgh performance venue, and the extra £5 million we will invest in Edinburgh's major festivals over the next five years'.

About Edinburgh International Festival 2017:

· This year the International Festival presented over 2,020 artists from 40 nations

· In a record year the International Festival took over £4.3million in ticket sales

· Overall attendance is estimated to be over 450,000

· Our audience members came from 83 nations

· Nearly 2000 free tickets were taken up by school children, whilst over 9000 discounted tickets were issued to young people and students

· The International has produced its own unique filmed portraits and behind-the-scenes footage offering a wider engagement across the world.

· The Festival is funded by City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, Dunard Fund, Lean Scully Fund and many Festival Partners, International Partners and Agencies, Trusts and Foundations, Corporate supporters, many individual givers and those who buy tickets.

· The 2018 International Festival will run from Friday 3 to Monday 27 August.

The Edinburgh International Festival is an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts and an annual meeting point for peoples of all nations. Committed to virtuosity and originality, the International Festival presents some of the finest performers and ensembles from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre for three weeks each August. The International Festival continues to attract people both locally and from across the globe.

In 2017 the International Festival celebrated its 70th anniversary. The International Festival was established in 1947 to 'provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit' through a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange. The 2017 programme celebrated 70 years of outstanding virtuosity and innovation, and explored how the Festival's founding ideals still resonate today.

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