Organisers of the Edinburgh International Festival, the world’s leading performing arts festival, have detailed plans for the 2021 event that will use bespoke outdoor venues across the city.

The festival, which marks the return of live shows to Scotland’s capital, will build three temporary outdoor pavilions designed especially for live performance.

The pavilions will be situated at iconic city locations including Edinburgh Park and the University of Edinburgh’s Old College Quad and will feature covered concert stages and socially distanced seating.

The International Festival, which is scheduled to take place from August 7 to 29, is working with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and other relevant authorities to implement appropriate COVID-19 safety measures. These include shorter performances with no intervals, physical distancing, regular cleaning, and contactless ticketing.

Full details of the festival’s security measures will be published in the coming months.

Fergus Linehan, festival director at Edinburgh International Festival said: “Edinburgh’s summer festivals were officially cancelled almost exactly a year ago. Today, we are delighted to announce that in August 2021 the Edinburgh International Festival will return to live performance.

“While there are still uncertainties ahead, we are confident that this programme will give us the very best chance of delivering a season of live performance from 7 – 29 August. All our planning will be led by the advice we continue to receive from our partners in Government.

“We appreciate that these first steps back to live performances will be for audiences closer to home but are delighted to offer a parallel programme of digital work for those further afield. We are hugely grateful to the artists who have agreed to come on this journey with us, the stakeholders, donors, and sponsors who have stood by us through a tough year and our audiences who have cheered us along throughout. We look forward to sharing full details of the programme in early June.”

The event will also release a selection of streamed performances free of charge during each week of the festival, for audiences in Edinburgh and around the world to view from home.

Full details of the 2021 programme, which spans opera, orchestral and chamber music, theatre and contemporary music, will be announced on June 2 before general booking opens on June 11.

Iain Munro, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: “Using bespoke outdoor venues which will enable audiences in Edinburgh to experience live performance, complemented by digital broadcast across the world, art and creativity in Scotland will again shine bright on the global stage as part of the much loved Edinburgh International Festival.”

Images: Edinburgh International Festival