Edinburgh International Festival to return this year with events held outdoors

Edinburgh’s International Festival will take place this year with ‘reimagined’ settings, it has been confirmed.

Performances at the arts festival will go ahead in temporary outdoor pavilions to ensure that the audience and staff are safeguarded during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pavilions will be set up in a number of iconic and easily accessible spaces through the city, including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad.

A series of opera, orchestral, theatre and contemporary music events will take place between August 7 and 29.

Festival bosses say that events have been ‘reimagined’ to meet health and safety demands amid the coronavirus pandemic

Details on a full programme of events will be revealed on Wednesday, June 2.

Festival bosses are now working with the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council to iron out a number of Covid safety measures.

These are expected to include shorter performances with no intervals, physical distancing, regular cleaning and contactless ticketing. More details will be revealed in the coming months.

A selection of performances will be streamed and available for free for people unable to attend the event.

Edinburgh International Festival will return this year

It will be the first time the annual festival has appeared in city since 2019 after it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Festival Director Fergus Linehan said that they have received ‘extraordinary support’ since last year’s event was scrapped.

In a statement, he said: “We are hugely grateful to the artists who have agreed to come on this journey with us, the stakeholders, donors, and sponsors who have stood by us through a tough year and our audiences who have cheered us along throughout.

“We look forward to sharing full details of the programme in early June.”

Edinburgh’s famous Fringe festival is expected to run alongside the International Festival this year. However, details on how it will be delivered to punters currently remain unclear.

A notice on the Fringe website reads: “The Fringe will return from August 6 to August 30. We’re still working on exactly what it’ll look like.”

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