International Festival to make city square Bloom

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Edinburgh's St Andrew Square will be transformed into an "epic public artwork" over two nights this August, in the third of the Edinburgh International Festival's huge free public commissions - the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom. The event is free and open to all from 10.30pm each evening. 

Building on the critical and public acclaim for 2015's Harmonium Project and Deep Time in 2016, Bloom (4-5 August 2017) will go even further, transforming an entire city plaza into "an immersive environment of colour, texture, sounds and sensations". 

Audiences will find themselves in the centre of a "magical digital installation", where large-scale projected animations and a newly commissioned music score from award winning composer Nick Powell (of which there's a brief excerpt in the video below) will completely reimagine the buildings and gardens of St Andrew Square.

Fergus Linehan, Edinburgh International Festival Director, said: 

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. 

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Reflecting the huge popularity of the International Festival's opening events in previous years, Bloom will take place over two nights, with the show running on a 20 minute loop, beginning at 10pm and ending at midnight.                                                   

Access to Bloom is free and tickets will be available from 3 July to guarantee entry in time for the 10pm start each night, with ticketholders being allowed in from 9pm onwards. Non-ticketholders will also be able to enter the area on a first come basis from 10.30pm, allowing thousands more to enjoy the event's spectacular visuals and music. 

The increased scale of this year's International Festival opening events is a recognition of 2017 as the 70th anniversary year of Edinburgh's Festivals, and Leo Warner, founder of 59 Productions and the director of Bloom said: 

Following two wonderful years working with Fergus and his team at the International Festival to create increasingly ambitious and engaging opening events, we faced a challenge in conceiving a new piece befitting the significance of this anniversary year. 
We decided to place audiences inside the event, encompassing them within nearly half a linear kilometre of projection-mapped architecture and bespoke lighting fixtures, and use music, sound and light to tell a story celebrating the 70 year history of the International Festival and the associated Edinburgh festivals, and the immeasurable impact that it has had on the cultural world. 

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Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said: 

I never tire of championing Scotland’s outlook as a welcoming and progressive nation and this is particularly demonstrated in the arts. In 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival boldly invited artists from across Europe to perform in the capital. 70 years on, we’re revered as a festival nation that welcomes performers and audiences from every corner of the globe.
We boosted the Scottish Government’s EXPO Fund by a further £300,000 to mark Edinburgh’s 70th anniversary as a festival city. I am delighted that part of this will support the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom, an ambitious, inspiring and artistic visual representation of those 70 years. It is a fitting tribute to Edinburgh’s legacy as the city that inspired cities around the world to celebrate the arts. 

Standard Life’s Chief Executive Keith Skeoch, added: 

We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Edinburgh International Festival’s Opening Event, particularly as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom will look back and celebrate the creativity and achievements of this world-class Festival. 
Both Standard Life and the International Festival have a rich heritage that reflects our shared commitment to excellence and our forward-looking approach, often leading the way through collaboration and innovation. The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom will bring many examples of this to life and will inspire others for the future too. 

The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom is supported by EventScotland, The Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and the University of Edinburgh.

The event will take place on a 20 minute loop between 10pm and midnight on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 August 2017. Tickets are now very limited, but Bloom is free and open to all from 10.30pm.

Tickets allow access to St Andrew Square from 9pm, with the event beginning at 10pm. Non-ticketholders will be able to access the arena from 10.30pm. 

The Edinburgh International Festival takes place from Friday 4 to Monday 28 August and tickets are on sale now. For more festival information plus programme and ticketing links, please visit our festival page.

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