Festival chiefs insist shows on track after power cut

Nicola Benedetti is due to play at the Usher Hall tomorrow
Nicola Benedetti is due to play at the Usher Hall tomorrow
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festival bosses today said they were confident the rest of their Usher Hall programme would go ahead despite the last-minute cancellation of one of their showpiece events because of a power cut.

Around 1250 people who had been due to attend a performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra were left standing outside the venue last night as the 8pm start time for the concert came and went.

About 20 minutes later, it was announced that the Russian-themed concert, part of the Edinburgh International Festival programme, had been cancelled.

Today EIF organisers said engineers had been working at the venue until late last night and believed the problem had been resolved.

Checks were being carried out later today, but a spokeswoman said a back-up generator had now been obtained so that the rest of the programme at the Usher Hall – including Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti’s Festival debut tomorrow night – would go ahead as planned in any case.

Yesterday’s power failure disrupted the orchestra’s afternoon rehearsal for the concert and had not been fixed by the time of the performance.

The spokeswoman said: “Due to a power cut to the Usher Hall building, yesterday evening’s concert had to be cancelled. All customers will be fully refunded. We have asked customers to contact hub tickets over the phone or in person over the next week after which we will issue refund cheques. The Edinburgh International Festival and the Usher Hall regret the circumstances and thank our customers who have been so very understanding.”

She said a lot of staff had been on hand to deal with questions and talk to customers about what had happened.

She added: “We are confident we will be going ahead with the rest of our programme. We are still working on the issue, but we now have a back-up generator so the concerts will be going ahead.

“We were not able to get one in time for last night. There had been an initial glitch, then it came back on and people thought it was working, but then it went off again and there was too little notice to make alternative arrangements.

“It’s not clear whether we are going to need the back-up generator, but we have it anyway.”

The concert had been due to feature Gothic Russian music on the theme of bells, conducted by Vladimir Torowski with three Russian soloists and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus.

It is understood the Festival programme is too packed to allow any rescheduling of the event.

Tomorrow’s concert is due to see Nicola Benedetti perform with the London Symphony Orchestra alongside renowned conductor Valery Gergiev.

A notice on the EIF Facebook page said: “Ticket holders will be given a full refund from Hub Tickets Box Office and card refunds can be given over the phone. If you wait a couple of days the box office should be quieter if you require to get your refund in person.

“This service will run for a week after which we will issue refund cheques.”