Show goes on

Online Festival events draw one million viewers

Artists performed virtually

Edinburgh may have been denied the buzz and colour of the annual festivals, but the coronavirus did not put a halt on performances.

Filming of 26 original performances in Edinburgh’s festival venues, meant the International Festival’s digital programme was seen by an audience of more than one million people from 47 countries. This compares to 420,000 who saw last year’s live events.

The digital programme, featuring opera, ballet and chamber music not only provided world class content to audiences all over the world, but helped create employment for more than 500 people, including artists, freelancers and support staff.

The programme remains available to watch for free online at and the International Festival YouTube channel.

Archive concerts from The Queen’s Hall and The Usher Hall, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine, are also available on BBC for a limited time.

It was the final year of Virgin Money’s sponsorship of the fireworks.

Francesca Hegyi, executive director Edinburgh International Festival, said: “It’s a huge shame that we weren’t able to go out with a bang this year but I would like to thank Virgin Money for their incredible support of the festival for the last decade; it is testament to Virgin Money’s commitment to the city that we have been able to benefit from their support for so long.  

“We are now going to take a little time to imagine the future for this event so that we can continue to celebrate this moment with everyone who helps makes the festival an international success.”

The Edinburgh book festival’s programme of 146 online readings and interviews with authors drew 210,000 viewers.

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