Edinburgh International Festival Returns With Outdoor Stages

All shows during Edinburgh International Festival usually take place indoors.
Renderings courtesy of Edinburgh International Festival
– All shows during Edinburgh International Festival usually take place indoors.
The stages for this year’s hybrid edition had to be conceived from scratch.

Edinburgh International Festival, the world-renowned performing arts festival in the Scottish capital, will return this year with a hybrid edition that has forced organizers to make some big changes to how the event is usually run.

They are planning for the worst case scenario, in case distancing mandates are still in place on the festival’s dates, Aug. 7-29. 
Other measures to bring Edinburgh International Festival in line with government regulations currently include contactless ticketing, purpose-built outdoor stages and seated shows.
Seeing that all of the shows taking place during EIF are usually happening indoors, building an outdoor infrastructure for the event posed a major undertaking, in particular around Edinburgh Park, where all contemporary gigs will be taking place. 
Laura Mvula, Damon Albarn, The Snuts, black midi, Karine Polwart and more UK and international artists have been confirmed for this year’s lineup.
Another outdoor stage could be set up in the square of Edinburgh's Old College.
Renderings courtesy of Edinburgh International Festival
– Another outdoor stage could be set up in the square of Edinburgh’s Old College.

Aside from contemporary music, the program of EIF also includes classical music, opera, theater, dance and more.

The 2021 International Festival also includes a digital program of 21 full-length productions available to watch online for free. Digital performances include Ariadne auf Naxos, the Chineke! Orchestra, Lament for Sheku Bayoh, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Talisk and the Zehetmair Quartet.
For more than 70 years, Edinburgh International Festival, and the alternative themed Festival Fringe, have been taking place across the Scottish capital annually. Last year’s coronavirus-related cancellation marked the first year without the two staple events.
Festival director Fergus Linehan said EIF’s program represented “a carefully organized return to live performance. It is a collaborative effort between those who live in our city, our artists, the team at the festival, our donors and stakeholders and all who will be coming along to our performances. 
“While so much has been written and said about the challenges of the past 15 months, it is now time to look to the future and to the brilliant musicians, actors, dancers and poets who are getting ready to perform in Edinburgh this August. 
“I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved in the Festival who has worked tirelessly in extraordinary circumstances and to thank our many partner organizations and stakeholders who have contributed to this program. 
“None of us can be certain of what the coming months will bring but we are committed to working together on returning to the joy of live performance.”