Edinburgh International Festival to feature opening event with 10,000 people

Around 10,000 people are expected to take part in an event to open the Edinburgh International Festival this summer but organisers are keeping tight-lipped on what this will entail.

On Thursday, the festival announced a partnership with Macallan Whisky, which will see them team up to create a “large scale outdoor event” based on the festival’s theme “Rituals That Unite Us”.

Festival organisers are unable to share details currently but promised an event “welcoming 10,000+ people to create a new ritual together for the International Festival and the city of Edinburgh”.

They also said it would be “ambitious in scope and storytelling, the opening event evokes the mythology, history and Scotland’s rich cultural heritage” and it “showcases a range of artforms and performers, inviting audiences to step into a transcendent world that explores our past, present and future, inspired by Edinburgh’s iconic landscape as a city built on layers”.

The event will be produced by Katy Fuller at Pinwheel, whose track record includes projection festival North Of The Tyne, Under The Stars which celebrated the landscape and legends of the north east of England, and Land Of Green Ginger for Hull UK City of Culture.

Nicola Benedetti, director of Edinburgh International Festival, said: “This year’s Edinburgh International Festival will be a momentous celebration of the collective experiences that bind us closer together.

Edinburgh International Festival
Director Nicola Benedetti said the Edinburgh International Festival will be a ‘momentous celebration’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

“We share The Macallan’s commitment to artistic innovation and collaboration, and to true mastery.

“This flourishing partnership will enable audiences to experience festival traditions in new and extraordinary ways; our unmissable opening event will allow us to see ourselves and our history on the grandest of stages, and inspire us to think differently.”

The festival’s full programme will be unveiled on March 7, with tickets going on sale on March 21.