The Edinburgh Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

Be part of this world-famous event

The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert brought Edinburgh’s festival season to a spectacular close on Monday, 26 August 2019. Hundreds of thousands of spectators gathered in Princes Street Gardens, and other vantage points across the city, to watch one of the world’s biggest and brightest annual fireworks concerts.

This year marked the ninth anniversary of Virgin Money’s support of the event. Since becoming the title sponsor in 2011, the event has seen over 2 million spectators enjoy the event with an estimated 3 million fireworks lighting the sky. But, what does it take to put on such a magical show? Here we share some backstage footage on how this spectacular event is brought to life.

What’s the Edinburgh Fireworks Concert all about?

Edinburgh is known around the world for the Edinburgh International Festival, an annual performing arts festival inaugurated in 1947, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or ‘the Fringe’). The Fringe was established in the same year when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the first Edinburgh International Festival and took over the smaller venues in the city, while the Edinburgh International Festival was held in the larger more prestigious venues. The Festival runs during the month of August each year, and it ends with a spectacular finale – the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert.

This year’s Fireworks Concert saw Catriona Morison, a professional Mezzo-Soprano (a female singer with a voice pitched between soprano and contralto), sing a selection from Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. The fireworks were beautifully choreographed to the music against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, and the concert marked the end of what’s been another successful year for the Edinburgh International Festival.

Read on to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes to make the Fireworks Concert such a success.

Backstage with Keith Webb

Fireworks Designer

The construction of the fireworks is a key part of the Fireworks Concert, and the man in charge of ensuring that happens smoothly is Keith Webb. It takes Keith and his team of pyro-technicians around eight days to lay out the fireworks across 17 different levels of Edinburgh Castle (from the ramparts to the top of Castle Rock). 12 tonnes of kit including cables, mortar racks and plywood frames are deployed so that 4 tonnes of explosives can be used to set off 400,000 fireworks. And if that wasn’t enough, the hugely popular ‘Waterfall’ firework, which descends 131 feet down the Castle Rock, consists of 70 firing units laid out 118 feet across the Castle. The numbers are impressive!

Watch Keith and his team set up for the event.

Backstage with Catriona Morison

Professional Mezzo-Soprano

Singing from an early age, and winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2017 Main Prize and Song Prize, Catriona Morison is very passionate about music and was thrilled to be singing at this year’s Fireworks Concert. There is so much wonderful music on offer in Edinburgh and Catriona believes that music is a great way to bring people together. 

Find out why Catriona is excited to sing at the Fireworks Concert.

Backstage with Marta Gardolińska

Conductor of the Fireworks Concert

An award-winning polish conductor, Marta Gardolińska feels equally at home conducting orchestras as she does choirs. Her interest in collaborating with other musicians makes her a gifted accompanist to instrumentalists and singers in solo or opera repertoire, and Marta felt very honoured to be conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for the Fireworks Concert.

Listen to Marta talk about her passion for music.

Backstage with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

The event wouldn’t be what it is without the wonderful music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Made up of 58 musicians, the Orchestra play a range of classical pieces that evoke emotion and entertainment. 

Here more from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra before their performance.

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