Edinburgh International Festival


Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom

  • The third in a series of free to the public digital commissions celebrates the opening of the 2017 Festival season
  • Celebration of 70 years of the International Festival and Edinburgh’s status as the world’s Festival City
  • Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom reimagines the St Andrew Square inviting audiences to travel through a magical digital installation
  • For the first time the Opening Event takes place on two nights, Friday 4 & Saturday 5 August
  • Free event tickets released at 10.00am on Monday 3 July
  • A family of sponsors, donors, collaborators and city agencies have come to gether to make Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom possible

A full media kit including images further background information can be downloadedhere.

In 1947, Sir John Falconer – Lord Provost of Edinburgh and the International Festival’s first Chair – spoke of his ambition that the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival should ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’. 70 years later, Edinburgh has bloomed into the world’s Festival City and its impact has been an constant inspiration, propagating new festivals throughout Europe and beyond. The Interantional Festival continues to celebrate our highest artistic achievements, our imagination and creativity, our generosity and diversity.

The third in a series of commissions from the International Festival’s Artistic Associates 59 Productions, the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom is a an epic public artwork by 59 Director Leo Warner, which brings together large-scale animation and architectural projection mapping, celebrating the cultural reignition sparked by the Festival’s creation. Featuring a newly commissioned musical score from award winning composer Nick Powell, the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom charts the joyful transformation of Edinburgh, from the darkness and division of the post-war years to the colour and vibrancy of today’s Festival City.  Bloomdraws upon the architechtural beauty of the new town, Edinburgh’s rich cultural heritage and the technological innovation for which the city is renowned.

Today the International Festival unveiled new information about the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom, naming the location as St Andrew Square in Edinburgh’s New Town. Following the successes of The Harmonium Project in 2015 and 2016’s Deep Time, this year’s opening event sees 59 Productions transform not only a single building but use the facades around St Andrew Square to create a vast canvas for projection-mapped animations. The Square becomes an immersive environment of colour, texture, sounds and sensations that places the audience at the centre of a visually stunning digital constellation.

The International Festival also announced that the Opening Event will take place on two nights for the first time, on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 August, giving audiences another opportunity to experience the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom during the opening weekend of the International Festival. The event runs from 10pm to midnight on a 20 minute loop, allowing audience members to explore it at their own pace.

The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom is made possible by support from a portfolio of partners across the private and public sector. This is the second event in a three year partnership between the International Festival and Standard Life – the International Festival’s Opening Event Partner – which supports the the event alongside other key funders including EventScotland and the University of Edinburgh, which have supported the Festival’s Opening Event since it’s inception in 2015. This year the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom also enjoys support from the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals EXPO Fund. This year the EXPO Fund has made an additional £300,000 available to support the Festivals celebrating 70 years of the Festival City. Edinburgh International Festival is working with Essential Edinburgh to realise the event.

Entry to the event is free. To guarantee access for the 10pm start, a limited number of tickets are available for both nights and will be released from 10am on Monday 3 July. Ticket holders can access the event arena from 9pm ahead of the event beginning at 10pm on both evenings. Non-ticket holders are also welcome to attend and will be admitted from 10.30pm on a first come basis.

Fergus Linehan, Edinburgh International Festival Director, said: ‘Since 1947 the International Festival has welcomed the world to Edinburgh, creating an electric atmosphere in this city which has radiated back out across the globe. That energy has transformed Edinburgh and sparked not only the development of the Festival City we know today, but the creation of countless other festivals around the world. We’ll experience that transformative power first-hand in Bloom, as 59 Productions create a digital constellation in the centre of our city that places our story and Edinburgh’s people at its heart. It takes a huge amount of collaborative work to mount an event like this, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners. I’d like to thank all of them – Standard Life, the Scottish Government, EventScotland, the University of Edinburgh, Blue-i Theatre Technology and Mclcreate – their support enables us to present this incredible celebration of our Festival City in its birthday year’.


Leo Warner, Founder of 59 Productions and Director of Standard Life Opening Event:Bloom said: ‘Following two wonderful years working with Fergus and his team at the International Festival to create increasingly ambitious and engaging opening events, we faced a challenge in conceiving a new piece befitting the significance of this anniversary year. We decided to place audiences inside the event, encompassing them within nearly half a linear kilometre of projection-mapped architecture and bespoke lighting fixtures, and use music, sound and light to tell a story celebrating the 70 year history of the International Festival and the associated Edinburgh festivals, and the immesurable impact that it has had on the cultural world.’


Standard Life’s Chief Executive Keith Skeoch, said: ‘We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Edinburgh International Festival’s Opening Event, particularly as it celebrates its 70th Anniversary. The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom will look back and celebrate the creativity and achievements of this world-class Festival. Both Standard Life and the International Festival have a rich heritage that reflects our shared commitment to excellence and our forward-looking approach, often leading the way through collaboration and innovation.The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom will bring many examples of this to life and will inspire others for the future too.’
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said: ‘I never tire of championing Scotland’s outlook as a welcoming and progressive nation and this is particularly demonstrated in the arts. In 1947, the Edinburgh International Festival boldly invited artists from across Europe to perform in the capital. 70 years on, we’re revered as a festival nation that welcomes performers and audiences from every corner of the globe. We boosted the Scottish Government’s EXPO Fund by a further £300,000 to mark Edinburgh’s 70th anniversary as a festival city. I am delighted that part of this will support the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom, an ambitious, inspiring and artistic visual representation of those 70 years. It is a fitting tribute to Edinburgh’s legacy as the city that inspired cities around the world to celebrate the arts.’

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: ‘EventScotland is delighted to once again support the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Since its inception in 2015, the opening event has truly captured the imagination of festival-goers and opened it up to a whole new audience. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we are very proud to have backed Fergus and his team’s vision to launch an event that has gone from strength to strength. In 2017, the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom will be a wonderful visual celebration of the Festival’s 70th anniversary and Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.’
Professor Dorothy Miell, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The University’s strong links with the Edinburgh International Festival go back to its inception, and we are delighted to collaborate once again to create this spectacular opening event. Our world-class researchers in digital media, design informatics and biological sciences will assist in shaping this epic artwork, and our archives will help tell the story of how the Festival has inspired a blossoming of creativity within the city and beyond. Academics will also work closely with 59 Productions to develop ambitious new ways for people to interact with the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom, creating a lasting legacy for future generations.”

The Rt Hon Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, said: ‘In 1947, my predecessor Lord Provost Falconer championed the inception of the International Festival. Today, I am as determined as ever to see the event bring people together from all over Scotland and the world. The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom will provide a beautiful and fitting celebration of our festivals and our city, and of course, the continued flowering of the human spirit. We are delighted to have supported our city’s festivals for 70 years.’

Sponsored by Standard Life

Supported by EventScotland

Supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund

Created by 59 Productions

In association with The University of Edinburgh

Technology Partner Blue-I Theatre Technology in partnership with mclcreate


Friday 4 & Saturday 5 August, 10.00pm – 12midnight.

Entry to the event is free. To guarantee access for the 10pm start there are a limited number of tickets for both nights available on 3 July at Ticket holders will have access to the arena from 9pm. Non-ticket holders will be admitted from 10.30pm on a first come basis.

Tickets are available at

For initial media enquiries contact or 07834 073 795

Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom (Event PR):
Susie Gray, The Corner Shop PR / 0131 202 6220
07834 073 795/

Kate Bouchier-Hayes, The Corner Shop PR / 0131 202 6220
07825 335489 /

Edinburgh International Festival (Festival PR):
Liz Wallace
Media Relations Manager
0131 473 2020 / 07708 795 320 / /


Notes to Editors

Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom
Friday 4 & Saturday 5 August, 10.00pm
St Andrew Square (access from George Street)

Priority admission with free ticket
Tickets limited to 2 per person

#edintbloom @edintfest @standardlifeplc

Edinburgh International Festival

  • The Edinburgh International Festival is an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts and an annual meeting point for peoples of all nations. Committed to virtuosity and originality, the International Festival presents some of the finest performers and ensembles from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre for three weeks each August.
  • The International Festival continues to attract people both locally and from across the globe, with audiences from 84 nations attending last year’s cultural celebration in Edinburgh.
  • In 2017 the International Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. The International Festival was established in 1947 to ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’ through a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange. The 2017 programme celebrates 70 years of outstanding virtuosity and innovation, and explores how the Festival’s founding ideals still resonate today.
  • The 2017 International Festival runs from Friday 4 to Monday 28 August, welcoming 2,020 artists from 40 nations to perform in Scotland’s capital city.

International Festival and Standard Life

  • With a mutual commitment to excellence, ambition, creativity and innovation, this partnership allows both organisations to celebrate their shared home of Edinburgh on an international stage.
  • The partnership will support the International Festival in advancing its ambitions for future Opening Events, which will continue to deliver new and innovative work showcasing pioneering productions made in Scotland. Standard Life chooses sponsorships and partners that reflect its commitment to excellence and to helping people achieve their ambitions. By supporting the International Festival through this new sponsorship, the company continues to build its investment in its home city and its people, and to advance its global brand.

Standard Life

  • Standard Life was established in Edinburgh in 1825. Today it is a global investment company helping people to invest and manage their money.
  • Around 4.5 million customers and clients across 45 countries trust Standard Life with their financial future and Standard Life is responsible for the administration of over £360 billion of their assets. Standard Life also supports over 25 million customers through Indian and Chinese associate and joint venture businesses.
  • Standard Life Investments actively manages £278billion worldwide, offering global asset management expertise with strong investment capabilities and performance.
  • Standard Life employs around 6300 people internationally – through businesses in the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
  • Standard Life plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange with around 1.2 million individual shareholders.
  • Standard Life chooses sponsorships and partners who reflect its commitment to excellence and its collaborative approach to helping people achieve their ambitions. Wherever Standard Life operates in the world, it is motivated by a sense of responsibility. That is what has helped it be a sustainable business over the long term. Standard Life is proud to be listed as a leader for corporate sustainability in its industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability™ Indices (DJSI World and DJSI Europe) and proud to partner with the Edinburgh International Festival and to be sponsoring this exciting Opening Event.
  • You can follow Standard Life on

59 Productions

59 Productions is the multi award-winning company of artists behind the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Tony Award-winning An American in Paris currently running in London, globe-trotting smash hit War Horse, and record-breaking David Bowie is exhibition. 59 Productions combines technology and art to tell amazing stories. Led by directors Leo Warner, Mark Grimmer, Lysander Ashton and Richard Slaney, they are world leaders specialising in design for stage and live events. Since 2006, 59 Productions has mounted more than 120 productions across the world at venues including the National Theatre, Royal Court, Young Vic, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and New York’s Metropolitan Opera as well as at theatre festivals in Salzburg, Berlin and Avignon. 59 Productions is an Associate Artist of the Edinburgh International Festival for a three-year tenure from 2016-2018.


EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see

2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

  • The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom forms part of Visit Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017.  It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017

University of Edinburgh

Established in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities and regularly ranks among the top 50 universities in the world. The University is an Edinburgh International Festival partner and proudly provides cutting-edge expertise and knowledge to help create one of the world’s greatest celebrations of the arts.

Scottish Government

Edinburgh’s Festivals have been defining, and promoting, Scotland’s identity as a confident, creative, welcoming nation for 70 years. The Edinburgh International Festival was formed to heal the wounds of war and bring European partners together through culture, focusing on our similarities rather than our differences. The Scottish Government greatly values the contribution our fellow Europeans bring to our society, culture and economy and this is particularly evident in the make-up of our festivals. We believe this should continue and that Scotland remains an open, outward-looking nation, with its cultural and creative sector at its heart.

The Scottish Government EXPO Fund enhances Scotland’s creative capacity and international reputation, and since 2008, the fund has provided over £19m in funding, supporting Edinburgh’s Festivals to create and showcase a legacy of important new work that is seen by audiences from around the world.

An additional £300,000 was provided to mark Edinburgh’s 70th anniversary as a festival city in 2017. The 2017/18 EXPO Fund has a budget of £2.1m for Edinburgh’s Festivals and £200,000 is provided to Festivals Edinburgh to promote and position Edinburgh as the world’s leading Festival City.

The Scottish Government places huge importance on the value of the arts and culture in our society. This week, we are commencing a national conversation exploring what culture means to everyone who lives here. These conversations will inform the development of a culture strategy for Scotland. The strategy will position culture as fundamental to a contemporary, diverse, democratic and innovative society with an open and international outlook – values which we know are shared by Edinburgh’s Festivals.

The Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund assessment process and funding is administered by Creative Scotland, with input from Event Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Festivals Edinburgh and City of Edinburgh Council.

Blue-i Theatre Technology & mclcreate

Blue-i Theatre Technology, the latest division of Blue-i Event Technology, is a leading supplier in video equipment rental to theatre and the arts across the UK and Worldwide. Teaming up with mclcreate Blue-i will be supplying the d3 media Server Package, video distribution and, in conjunction with mclcreate, 42 Panasonic PT-DZ21K projectors.

Ed Cooper of blue-I Theatre Technology said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support both the Edinburgh International Festival’s and close friends 59 Productions Deep Time for what promises to be a spectacular event’.

The Edinburgh International Festival receives core grant support from The City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland. Scottish Charity Number SC004694.


By Naresh Sagar

Mentor MSME, Motivator, Media Event Org, Management fiscal & Water management.Social Media branding,Internet broadcasters,Propunder of Indian Philosophy

2 replies on “Edinburgh International Festival”

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