Fireworks End Edinburgh Festival Season

The Scottish capital's festival season has been brought to a close with a display of hundreds of thousands of fireworks lighting up Edinburgh Castle.

Crowds turned up at Princes Street Gardens and other vantage points throughout the city for the 45-minute display set to music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

More than 400,000 fireworks lit up the sky as classic favourites including Brahms' Hungarian Dances, Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, and Strauss' Thunder and Lightning Polka were performed.

It takes a team of 15 people six days to lay out the four tonnes of fireworks, including the famous waterfall which sees fireworks cascading over the castle's rocks.

The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert is an annual event which provides the finale to the Edinburgh International Festival.

This year ticket sales have been around £3.8 million, almost 20% higher than last year's record total.

Festival director Fergus Linehan found his first year in the role ''exhilarating'' with highly rated shows including Antigone with Juliette Binoche and Lanark by David Grieg.

He said: ''All that remains is for us to thank the hundreds of artists and hundreds of thousands of audience members who continue to make the Edinburgh International Festival one of the wonders of the arts world.

''This alliance of artists, audiences, government agencies, the media, donors and sponsors is unprecedented and all of us at the Festival office are deeply honoured to be given the opportunity to contribute to this remarkable organisation. We will continue to seek out artists of the highest calibre and present their work to the widest possible audience.''

The Fringe was also hailed a ''spectacular success'' as the festival season ended.

Millions of people have visited the Scottish capital throughout August to watch comedy, theatre and music shows as well as a number of free outdoor performances such as a light show projected on to the Usher Hall to celebrate 50 years of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus.

Almost 2.3 million tickets have been issued for 50,000 Fringe events, an increase of more than 5% on last year.

Kath M Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: ''As this year's Fringe draws to a close we can reflect on what a spectacular success it has been.

''Once again artists and audiences have travelled from across the globe to be a part of this unique cultural event. And with an estimated 2,298,090 tickets issued and many thousands of people attending the 800 free shows in the programme, I've no doubt every single person who watched a Fringe show, or experienced this wonderful festival city, will take away unforgettable memories.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ''From the opening notes and illuminations of the spectacular The Harmonium Project to the crescendo of the festival fireworks, this is has been a great year for the Edinburgh International Festival.

''The festival has delivered music, theatre, dance and culture of the highest quality, including Lanark - a remarkable production that we have been proud to support through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo fund.

''I have been impressed how the festival has pushed the boundaries to connect to wider audiences with projects such as Fanfare and From Castlebrae with Love.''

She added: ''This has been another incredible year for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The festival continues to evolve and work with the city to expand and offer more and more to audiences from across the world.''

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