Welcoming the world to Edinburgh

The 71st August Festivals are here with hundreds of musicians, dancers, actors and comedians taking to the stage for the first time tonight.

This year, more than 50,000 performances of more than 5,000 shows will take place in approximately 500 venues across the Tattoo, Fringe, Book, Art and International Festivals.

Yet, it is the Usher Hall which remains the original home of the Festivals. The iconic venue was the site of the very first International performance in 1947 and has been preparing for the opening night of the 2018 event tonight (Friday 3 August).

With an original programme from the very first Festival alongside this year's programme, Councillor Donald Wilson met the Director of the Edinburgh International Festival Fergus Linehan to hand over the baton as the Festival settles in for its annual three-week residence. 

Commenting, Fergus Linehan said:  “To be honest I don’t think you could have had the Edinburgh International Festival without the Usher Hall! In 1946 and 1947, when the search was on for a home for the festival in in the UK, a lot of the cultural infrastructure in the country had been destroyed in the war and what Edinburgh had was obviously a beautiful historic centre which survived but it also boasted this world-class concert hall. There was the possibility, therefore, to be able to host some of the great orchestras and musicians of the world.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, added: “We often talk about why the Festivals were created in the first place and they are very much, I believe, Edinburgh’s gift to the world. The Lord Provost of the time, Sir James Falconer, originally gave a request and a plea to all the people of Edinburgh to ‘welcome the world’ to the Usher Hall and to the Festival and give everyone a memorable stay in this great city. That message remains just as relevant today.”

Check out all on offer at the Edinburgh International Festival this summer and Edinburgh’s other vibrant festivals here. Welcome all.

Image credit: Ryan Buchanan

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