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Edinburgh's International Festival

Venue: various venues.

Information & tickets:
The Hub, Castlehill, Old Town, EH1 2NE (473 2099 administration, 473 2000 box office, Tickets many events cost around £10-£25 or £10-£40, with some cheaper concerts (around £17), one or two more expensive operas (£10-£65) and some free events mixed into the schedule. Advance booking online, by phone, by post & in person from early Apr.

Dates: 24 days, ending on 1st Sun in Sept (13 Aug-5 Sept 2010; 12 Aug-4 Sept 2011; 10 Aug-2 Sept 2012).

More than theatre and dance, classical music is at the heart of the EIF. The Usher Hall stages concerts nightly, supplemented by an all-day line-up at the Queen’s Hall and half a dozen major operas at the Festival Theatre. Standards are high and top international names make regular appearances. Programming, split roughly 50-50 between orchestral concerts and chamber recitals, draws on the canon; events in 2009 included a Bach series. However, there have been recent signs that the EIF’s music programme may be expanding under director Jonathan Mills; 2009 saw folk brought to the fore in a series called the Caledonian Sessions. The highly popular Fireworks Concert in Princes Street Gardens draws proceedings to a close with a suitable flash and a bang, bringing audiences out to every possible viewing station throughout the city centre.