Festival offers sneak preview of St Andrew Square spectacular

The 70th anniversary curtain-raiser will be staged over two nights in St Andrew Square.
The 70th anniversary curtain-raiser will be staged over two nights in St Andrew Square.
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Organisers of the Edinburgh International Festival have given a sneak preview of their spectacular opening event which will transform on the city's most prestigious spaces this weekend.

It is hoped more than 40,000 people will flood into St Andrew Square for the two-day curtain-raiser, Bloom, which has been created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the event.

Three sides of the square will be turned into vast canvases for animations and projections celebrating the origins of the festival, which was instigated in the aftermath of the Second World War, with an ambition to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit.”

The festival has been staging technical rehearsals in the square, which is being deployed for the EIF opener following previous curtain-raisers on the facade of the Usher Hall and Edinburgh Castle rock.

Organisers say audiences will be able to immerse themselves in a "digital constellation" during the two-hour event tomorrow and Saturday.

The 20-minute sound and light show, the third annual spectacular created by the animation company 59 Productions for the festival, will be run on a loop from 10pm until midnight.

Three sides of St Andrew Square will be transformed for the Edinburgh International Festival's opening event.

Three sides of St Andrew Square will be transformed for the Edinburgh International Festival's opening event.

Although all tickets for the event were snapped up in advance, people can still queue up on George Street to gain access to the arena from 10.30pm.

Leo Warner, founding director of 59 Productions, said: "Bloom is a jubilant aesthetic and musical 'mix tape', an invitation for residents and visitors to Edinburgh to join us in St Andrew Square at any time over the two nights of the event, and enjoy a sense of the moment of genesis in which Edinburgh first created the notion of the 'festival city.'

"The establishment of the International Festival in 1947 was a catalyst for a new wave of artistic and cultural energy that spread out across Europe and the world, and Bloomcelebrates that moment of ignition."

Bloom will chart the evolution of Edinburgh into a 'festival city' since the first events in 1947.

Bloom will chart the evolution of Edinburgh into a 'festival city' since the first events in 1947.

Organisers say more than 40,000 people could see Bloom during its two-night run in St Andrew Square.

Organisers say more than 40,000 people could see Bloom during its two-night run in St Andrew Square.