Ticket sales for the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) have passed the £3 million mark for the first time, organisers revealed as this year’s event draws to a close.
The curtain comes down on this year’s festival tonight with the massive Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
The spectacle, expected to be viewed by thousands of people at vantage points all around the city, marks the end of Sir Jonathan Mills’s eight-year tenure as EIF director.
Organisers claimed it had been an “outstanding year” for the event, which took more than £3.15 million in ticket sales income.
Among this year’s programme highlights were stagings of The James Plays by Rona Munro, Inala featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Pina Bausch’s Sweet Mambo, Back to Back’s Ganesh versus the Third Reich and a concert series at the Usher Hall.
Mr Mills said: “The true measure of success is the audience’s experience and we’ve received so much great feedback. There has been a fantastic atmosphere at shows across the festival.
“Our audiences from Scotland, the UK and 75 other nations around the world have greeted our artists with huge warmth, with so many of those artists telling me how exciting it is to play to such enthusiastic and knowledgeable audiences, and enjoying their visit to Edinburgh immensely.
“Once again we’ve been treated to the world’s finest artists sharing their creativity and their work, which has ranged from the epic to the intimate, from east to west and everywhere in between.”
This year’s EIF presented more than 2,400 artists from 43 nations. Some 80% of all the available tickets were issued. The overall audience attendance is estimated to stand at over 415,000.
Since his first festival in 2007, Mr Mills has presented programmes with themes ranging from the Scottish Enlightenment to the influence of the cultures of Asia on western artists.
Under his leadership, the EIF has also organised international launch events in more than 35 cities around the world.
Mr Mills added: “It has been an incredibly exciting and challenging eight years in the one of the best jobs in the world.
“The audiences, the stakeholders, the artists and the staff have made it such a pleasure.
“I wish Fergus Linehan, my successor, the very best in taking the festival forward into the future.”