Thousands of tickets were released this morning for Edinburgh International Festival’s (EIF’s) Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom. The epic, large-scale digital artwork charts the joyful transformation of Edinburgh, from the darkness and division of the post-war years, to the colour and vibrancy of its position today as a world-class festival city.
Running for two hours, Bloom will play on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 August (10pm to midnight) in St Andrew Square in Edinburgh’s New Town. The Georgian New Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 and this year celebrates its 250th anniversary.
The opening weekend event is created by 59 Productions, the multi-award winning company behind the video design of the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and the record-breaking V&A David Bowie exhibition. Bloom will use the facades around St Andrew Square as a vast canvas for projection-mapped animations, creating an immersive environment of colour, texture, sounds and sensations that place the audience at the centre of a stunning digital constellation. The projections will be accompanied by a new musical score from award-winning composer, Nick Powell.
The commission brief was to create a public artwork sparked by EIF’s inauguration in 1947, when Sir John Falconer – Lord Provost of Edinburgh and the International Festival’s original chair – spoke of his ambition that the first EIF should “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit”.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “EventScotland is delighted to once again support the Standard Life Opening Event at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Since its inception in 2015, the opening event has truly captured the imagination of festival-goers and opened it up to a whole new audience.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we are very proud to have backed Fergus and his team’s vision to launch an event that has gone from strength to strength. In 2017, the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom will be a wonderful visual celebration of the Festival’s 70th anniversary and Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”
Added EIF director Fergus Linehan: ‘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. It takes a huge amount of collaborative work to mount an event like this, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners. I’d like to thank all of them – Standard Life, the Scottish Government, EventScotland, the University of Edinburgh, Blue-i Theatre Technology and Mclcreate – their support enables us to present this incredible celebration of our Festival City in its birthday year.”
Ticket holders will have access to the arena from 9pm. Non-ticket holders will be admitted from 10.30pm on a first come basis.