Sink into Symphony: The Beanbag Concert Series is Back

Take some time to pause and enjoy a deep, immersive experience during Edinburgh’s busy summer period. The 2024 Edinburgh International Festival invites you to listen, gather, seek, and feel.

The beanbag concert series creates a unique space where you can gather together with world-class musicians and your fellow concert-goers. Whether you arrive with friends, family, partners, or even solo, you'll leave with a great sense of shared experience having explored this alternative way for enjoying live music.

Our beanbag series spans the emotional depths of Mahler, to the eclectically vibrant São Paulo, to a bustling 17th century London tavern. Read on to explore the full Beanbag Concert Series. (Please note, there will also be standard seating in the circle or balcony for all beanbag concerts).

Mahler 5 Inside Out

This concert gives you the rare opportunity to pull up a beanbag and sit amongst the musicians, as Sir Mark Elder wraps up his time as music director of the Hallé Orchestra, leading them through extracts of the composer’s expansive Fifth Symphony. This concert offers a context to the complete symphony, which The Hallé will perform in full the next day. This is a great chance to deepen your understanding of classical music, whilst getting swept along by Mahler’s story.

EIF - Mark Elder cHalle

Ilumina Residency: In The Light Of Shadow

Join the São Paulo-based artist collective Ilumina as they take on a varied range of compositions, from French baroque to Afro-samba. The collective is joined by violinists Liza Ferschtman and Jennifer Stumm, Ilumina’s founder. You can absorb this array of talent from different places around the world, all from the comfort of a beanbag.

Ilumina Residency: Exploring Ilumina

This concert offers an immersive, up-close insight into the ensemble’s process. The musicians explore movement, rhythm and non-classical forms, and you’ll be in amongst the action.

European Union Youth Orchestra: Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra

The best guides are the immersive ones. This expedition is a light-hearted dissection of the grand ensemble, and has become a twentieth-century classroom staple. The European Union Youth Orchestra bring together young musicians from across the EU, united under the notion of community. They stand for cooperation, creativity, innovation and achievement. What better way to discover the next generation of talent, than by grabbing a beanbag and gathering with your fellow audience.

European Union Youth Orchestra: Don Quixote

This piece tells the tale of the loveable rogue from La Mancha, who lost himself in the pages of romantic literature and emerged as a chivalrous knight, under the name Don Quixote. The Youth Orchestra will be joined by cello soloist Nicolas Altstaedt, a previous BBC New Generations Artist.

EIF - Budapest Orchestra cJess ShuteEdinburgh Festival Chorus

Soak up the hypnotic sound of Alexander Grechaninov’s Passion Week with this treat for the senses. You’ll be moved by the meditation on Christ’s capture, trial, crucifixion and resurrection.

The Alehouse Sessions

This is certainly not your average concert! Be transported straight into a 1680s London tavern, where you can enjoy dance, improvisation and storytelling, from the award-winning ensemble Barokksolistene. The Alehouse Sessions bring folk, classical and ballads together, as well as audiences. Beer in hand, you won’t be able to resist humming along.

EIF - Alehouse Sessions cKnut UtlerThe Beanbag Concert Series takes place from 14 to 16 Aug in the Usher Hall, with the full Edinburgh International Festival running from 2 to 25 August 2024.

Photo Credits

  • Mark Elder with The Hallé © Courtesy of artist 
  • Budapest Orchestra with Iván Fischer © 2023 Jess Shurte
  • Alehouse Sessions © Knut Utler
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