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Edinburgh International Festival Partners With The Macallan For Immersive Opening Experience This August

Credit: Edinburgh International Festival, Daniel Quirke

The Edinburgh International Festival has today unveiled plans for Opening Event: Where to Begin, in partnership with The Macallan, as part of the annual celebration of the arts. 

Opening Event: Where to Begin will be a “large-scale, visually spectacular outdoor event” ushering in the start of the 24-day festival, which begins on August 2nd. 

The event will see the grounds of George Heriot’s, a private school and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Edinburgh’s Old Town, transform into an immersive experience featuring live performances, music, video projection, and storytelling. The multi-media installation will explore the many layers – both physical and cultural – of Edinburgh, asking “what hidden power may be found in those vaults and tunnels.” 

Beginning at dusk on 2nd August, Opening Event: Where to Begin will take place across three nights, ending on Sunday 4th August. The final night of the installation will be audio described and captioned, making the installation accessible to all. 

This year’s Edinburgh International Festival is themed around ‘Rituals That Unite Us’, with the opening installation becoming one such ritual that festival-goers can enjoy together. Curated by Pinwheel, EventScotland, and The Macallan, the event will – according to the official press release – celebrate “the creativity, excellence and height of achievement that lies within the Scottish identity.” Scottish traditions such as Hogmanay, First Footing, and (of course) the enjoyment of scotch whisky will feature in the experience, as well as references to Scottish mythology. 

Attend Opening Event: Where to Begin at the Edinburgh International Festival 

The Edinburgh International Festival will kick off on 2nd August 2024 and end on the 25th. Each year, the city comes alive with celebrations as residents and tourists come together to honor the rich culture of performing arts. This year’s festival has been curated by Festival Director and renowned Scottish violinist, Nicola Benedetti. 

Tickets for Opening Event: Where to Begin are available from £15 via the Edinburgh International Festival website. Billed at “A ritual to ignite your Festival”, it is not to be missed. 

Purchase your tickets here

The Macallan X Pinwheel X Event Scotland

Credit: Edinburgh International Festival, Daniel Quirke

The event is the culmination of efforts from multiple companies and organizations, working together to create an installation fit to open the Edinburgh International Festival. 

Edinburgh International Festival Director, Nicola Benedetti said:

“This year, we’ve invited everyone to participate in our 2024 theme, Rituals That Unite Us. Opening Event: Where to Begin in partnership with The Macallan, marks the first of a new ritual, both for our Festival and the city. We know audiences will be blown away by this spectacle, and we’re proud to show the formidable creative power and potential of Edinburgh and its people to the world. It’s an event that beckons us to find new ways to experience and appreciate our city.”

Jaume Ferràs, Global Creative Director, The Macallan, added:

“I’m proud to see The Macallan’s creative partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival come to life in August. Both the International Festival and The Macallan hold a deep commitment to excellence and artistic innovation, rooted in our shared, rich Scottish heritage. As The Macallan celebrates our 200th anniversary this year, we are proud to partner with the International Festival to create an unmissable start to the festival season. Where to Begin will captivate audiences with stories of Scotland’s past, present and future, and will offer the inspiration that only a live event like this can offer.”

Creative Director of Pinwheel, Katy Fuller said:

“I’m thrilled to create a new Opening Event for Edinburgh International Festival in partnership with The Macallan. Our story pays tribute to this most remarkable of cities and the unstoppable creative energy which pervades it every August. We celebrate the alchemy that happens when exceptional artistry meets expectant audience and the connection, emotion and inspiration that characterises a festival in full force. We look forward to welcoming audiences to join us and play their part in igniting the 2024 International Festival.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, finished:

“The Edinburgh International Festival is one of Scotland’s key signature events and cultural assets. EventScotland is proud to be continuing its support of the Festival’s Opening Event, having supported it through our International Programme since its inception in 2015. Events play an important role in our communities, and as part of an enviable portfolio of annual events and festivals that deliver sustainable impacts and international profile for Scotland, the Opening Event: Where to Begin will provide the perfect stage for visitors and locals to unite and immerse themselves in a unique and memorable experience.”

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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