Prepare for blast-off!

DRIVERS are being warned to expect dozens of road closures in the Capital as preparations get under way for the spectacular fireworks concert heralding the end of the city’s festivals.

The annual finale to the Edinburgh International Festival will be held in Princes Street Gardens tomorrow night and, providing the weather holds out, organisers expect the popular event – sponsored by Virgin Money – to attract around 250,000 people.

Revellers can also look forward to a range of Eastern-inspired, exotic music performed live by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, with conductor Garry Walker.

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Several roads will be closed between 6pm tomorrow and 1.30am on Monday, including The Mound, Rose Street, and North Bank Street.

Princes Street, from South Charlotte Street to South St David Street, will be closed from 6am to 10am tomorrow, and 6pm tomorrow to 1.30am on Monday. Widespread parking restrictions will also be in place.

The concert will get under way at 9pm after nine-year-old Megan Blair, from Tranent, presses the launch button and the sky lights up with more than 100,000 fireworks and four tonnes of explosives.

The performance will be relayed to the Virgin Money family viewing area at Inverleith Park, where there will be a large screen.

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Edinburgh International Festival Director, Jonathan Mills, said: “It has been a wonderful festival; so many people have caught me across the city to say how much they have been enjoying it.

“Pyrovision has got a very exciting display to share with us on Sunday evening, the music is terrific and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra are on excellent form. It’ll be a night to remember.”

Among the performances by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be the overture from Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmilla, which tells the story of the abduction of a Russian Princess on her wedding day.

Organisers recommend Princes Street and Inverleith Park as prime vantage points to ensure people get the best view of the colourful display.

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Virgin Money was unveiled as the new financial backer of the fireworks concert earlier this year. The future of the event had looked in doubt after Bank of Scotland pulled an estimated £250,000 of funding after 16 years.

The final batch of tickets for the concert went on sale at 10am today from The Hub on Castlehill.

A spokesman for the city council said Inverleith Park would be suitable for disabled people to view the fireworks from, with parking available to blue badge holders in the park near the entrance of Arboretum Place.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, the city’s festivals and events champion, said: “What better way to mark the end of a sensational festival month in Edinburgh than with this fantastic display of fireworks and superb music?”

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