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Edinburgh International Festival celebrates 75th anniversary with free tickets

Edinburgh International Festival is giving out over 35,000 free tickets in celebration of its upcoming 75th anniversary. 

The free programme, which will feature circus performances, shows from world-renowned orchestras and an immersive installation, has been dedicated to the residents of Edinburgh who have opened their city up to the world for the last 75 years. 

The 2022 Edinburgh International Festival will open on Friday August 5 with MACRO, a free event at BT Murrayfield. MACRO will feature circus and physical theatre company Gravity & Other Myths, who will be joined by First Nations dance company Djuki Male, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Scottish musicians. 

MACRO is supported by EventScotland, which is part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. Some 15,000 free tickets for the event are now available. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra will host four concerts, led by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, including a ‘Thank you, Edinburgh’ free concert on August 27 at the Edinburgh Playhouse. It will also be relayed live to the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. 

Those among the first 100 to arrive at the unticketed relay in the Gardens will also receive a free snack pack, which will be supplied by the International Festival’s official partners, The Pantry and Bon Accord. Free tickets for ‘Thank You, Edinburgh’ will be available from July 4.

Other events include Dreamachine, as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, which is a free immersive experience using light and sound to explore the potential of the human mind. It will take place at Murrayfield Ice Rink with free tickets available from July 11. 

The Edinburgh International Festival and the Scottish Government will also pay tribute to the victims of war in Ukraine, by welcoming the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra at Usher Hall on August 6. The orchestra, which was assembled by New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Polish National Opera, includes refugees, Ukrainian members of European orchestras and Ukrainian musicians and performers. It will be led by Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson. Free tickets for this performance will be available from July 18.

In addition to the 35,000 free tickets, the International Festival is offering a free digital programme At Home, which will feature behind the scenes interviews, music sessions and performances filmed across Edinburgh. 

Fergus Linehan, festival director of Edinburgh International Festival, said: “As the Edinburgh International Festival prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, we wanted to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of so many of the city’s residents who have contributed to the Festival over the years. 

“We are delighted that tickets for several our most ambitious 2022 productions will be completely free of charge.”

The 75th Edinburgh International Festival takes place from August 5 until August 28. 

Image: Duncan McGlynn