City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Festival Fireworks Concert

By edg - Posted on 07 April 2016

Edinburgh Festival Fireworks Concert
Event details
Monday, August 29, 2016 - 9:30pm - 10:15pm
Telephone (box office): 
+44 (0)131 473 2000

The Edinburgh Festival goes out each year with literally many, very large bangs, in its annual 45-minute Festival Fireworks Concert, this year, on Monday 29 August at 9.30pm. Get your radio, a rug, find a good viewing spot, and crane your neck skyward.

Beneath Edinburgh Castle, the world-renowned Scottish Chamber Orchestra will play while a fireworks team based in the castle provides synchronised visual accompaniment.

You need a ticket to hear the SCO playing at the Ross Band Stand in Princes Street Gardens, but the majority of spectators tune into local radio to hear the live broadcast and watch the pyrotechnians paint the sky in explosive colour.

Vantage points can be found around the city, from up close on Princes Street, Waverley Bridge, or Castle Street to Calton Hill, from residential New Town roof-tops to further afield from the slopes of Holyrood Park.

Inverleith Park's free Family Viewing Area is also popular. It has good views of the castle and a live video link and sound system to capture the Concert in the Gardens that accompanies the fireworks display. It's not as exciting as being up close, under the castle, but you can avoid the uptown crush of Princes Street. Get there earlyish - proceedings start at 7pm - to bag a good spot. (This closed in 2012 due to heavy rain).

Holyrood Park is also closed to traffic to allow people to watch the fireworks. Being further away from the castle this may not have the same intensity as being under the castle, but if you are sufficiently high up the grassy slopes you should get a good view of the big explosions.

Naturally, the weather is also expected to play its part. Ideal weather conditions are clear skies and a slight breeze to blow the clouds of smoke from the masses of exploded fireworks away. Check the weather forecast.

2016 Programme

The 2016 Festival Fireworks programme had a dance theme:

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be led by Estonian conductor Kristiina Poska, continuing 2016’s Shakespearean celebrations with two interpretations of his best known love story, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and the Symphonic Dances from Bernstein’s classic West Side Story, concluding with the pomp and exuberance of Shostakovich's Festive Overture.

2015 Programme

The 2015 Festival Fireworks programme had a dance theme:

  • E Strauss Steam Powered polka (fast, op. 70)
  • Brahms Hungarian Dances nos. 1,3 & 5
  • Mozart Contradances from K603 and K609
  • Lumbye Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop
  • Dvorak Slavonic Dances from op. 46
  • J Strauss II Emperor Waltz, op. 437
  • J Strauss II Thunder and Lightning Polka

2014 Programme

The concert continued the festival's "war" theme with Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' from Die Walküre, used so evocatively in the movie Apocalypse Now, as well as Debussy's rousing March Écossaise, the stormy passions of Beethoven's Egmont Overture and the memorable 'War March of the Priests' from Mendelssohn's Athalie. The fireworks display over the castle ramparts by Pyrovision will reach a crescendo for Tchaikovsky's thunderous 1812 Overture, written to celebrate Russia's deliverance from Napoleon's invading armies.

2013 Programme

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Garry Walker will perform Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The firework display will be choreographed by Pyrovision. The fireworks will see 4 tonnes of fireworks set off including the popular waterfall of white light that cascades down the castle rock.

2012 Programme

The 2012 Fireworks Concert marked the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a "feast of pageantry and patriotism", with a touch of Shakespeare including Walton Orb and Sceptre (written for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953); Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Greensleeves; Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet (excerpts); Walton Suite from Henry V (excerpts).


Ticket sales are through EIF box office at The Hub, online, and tel +44 (0)131 473 2000.

Tickets to the Festival Fireworks Concert usually sell out quickly.

Seated Ross Theatre tickets (£27.50) and standing Princes Street Gardens tickets (£12.50 or £17.50 priority entry).

Tickets are limited to only ten per booking.

Note: Ticket holders for the Ross Theatre don’t need to rush to secure their spot in the gardens and so can take their seats once the gates are open.