Arts & Culture

Edinburgh International Festival celebrates successful year under Nicola Benedetti

Featured Image: Edinburgh International Festival

This year’s edition of Edinburgh International Festival welcomed over 120,000 audience members in Nicola Benedetti’s first year as festival director.

More than 32,000 free and discounted tickets were also offered to local communities and those eligible for concessions. 

There were over 24 days of events from 2,500 artists representing 50 nations. 

“I dreamt of a festival that felt truly open and welcoming, creating a shared ownership and pride over the future of our Festival and its profound contribution to Scotland’s culture and conversation,” said Benedetti. 

“The response from artists and audiences has been resoundingly uplifting, filled with a tangible energy pulling us closer together. We asked, ‘where do we go from here?’ – and we heard from thousands of people, sharing different perspectives from around the world. Now, we are confident in forging our path and deepening next year’s conversation together.”

Live experiences took place across Edinburgh’s theatres, concert halls and venues. Some 13% of bookers were international, an increase of 3% on last year. The festival also saw steady attendance from local audiences, with 69% of bookers coming from Scotland. 

Over 2 1,000 tickets were discounted for those eligible for concessions, including D/deaf and disabled people, arts workers, students and audiences aged under 26. More than 11,000 free tickets were also issued, including 500 tickets for NHS workers and 631 tickets through the Young Music Pass scheme, which gives free tickets to young people to experience classical music. 

The £10 (€12/$13) on the day ticket, which was available to people eligible for concessions, saw 4,000 tickets snapped up, a 46% increase on 2022’s edition. 

“August in Edinburgh is the time when the world’s spotlight turns to the Festival City, where residents can mix with their international counterparts and see artists they wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to,” added Francesca Hegyi, chief executive of Edinburgh International Festival. 

“There has been a new warmth and spirit of inquiry to the Edinburgh International Festival this year and the feedback from audiences, artists and visitors has been nothing short of exceptional.”

The Edinburgh International Festival also reached millions of people through digital channels, with content viewed 4.8 million times over the course of the festival, a 63% boost from 2022. Additionally, 19 concerts were recorded live for broadcast on BBC Radio 3. 

Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “This was a bumper year for Edinburgh’s summer festivals, distinguished by a strong contribution from home grown talent, and increased access to events through an expanded programme of community activities. Edinburgh’s festivals underline how important culture is to our way of life as well as underlining Scotland’s reputation on the international stage. I’d like to thank everyone involved for putting on such a fantastic line-up of performances and events this year.”

The Edinburgh International Festival took place from August 4-27.