Last night's Fireworks Concert marked the end of the Edinburgh International Festival and the end of Festival Director Sir Jonathan Mills’s eight year tenure as Festival Director.
The EIF this year saw premieres of The James Plays trilogy by Rona Munro (receiving 5 star reviews each from our reviewers), Inala featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Pina Bausch’s Sweet Mambo, and Back to Back’s Ganesh versus the Third Reich.
The EIF reported that the popular Usher Hall concert series played to an 80% capacity and that overall the Festival took more than £3.15 million in ticket sales income, passing the £3million mark for the first time. Overall attendance is estimated to have been over 415,000 with ticket bookers from 76 nations.
“The true measure of success is the audience’s experience and we’ve received so much great feedback," said Jonathan Mills. "There has been a fantastic atmosphere at shows across the Festival. I’m really delighted that the James Plays have been such a hit, and wish the National Theatres of Scotland and Great Britain, and the other shows now transferring from the Festival to London and around the world, the very best of luck."
“Our audiences from Scotland, the UK and 75 other nations around the world have greeted our artists with huge warmth, with so many of those artists telling me how exciting it is to play to such enthusiastic and knowledgeable audiences, and enjoying their visit to Edinburgh immensely."
The EIF also presented over 2,400 artists from 43 nations. Mills said he was pleased to have offered a broad range of entertainment and ticket prices.
This year the Festival also expanded its reach through media and online partnerships.
Said Mills: “We created over 50 podcasts and films with Sinfini Music, offering people exploring our music programme the richest possible information, which has attracted over 8,000 listens from over 50 countries. We also streamed beautiful intimate rehearsal moments with Patricia Kopatchinaskaja, Kronos Quartet, Michael Houstoun, and Collegium Vocal Gent in association with the Guardian; while BBC Radio 3 broadcast live from The Queen’s Hall each weekday morning and will also broadcast a week of concerts recorded during this Festival from 15 September.”
The Festival introduced a "responsive" website making it easier for people to use on mobiles and tablets. Website visitors came from 212 countries with mobiles up 20% on last year. The EIF social media presence continued to grow with 42,010 likes on Facebook and 32,900 followers on Twitter. The Edinburgh Fringe, by comparison, currently has 77,071 likes and 78,400 followers.
Jonathan Mills tenure has seen him present Festival programmes with themes ranging from the Scottish Enlightenment to the influence of the cultures of Asia on western artists - with regions of the world represented each year.
Mills initiated a strategy to capitalise on and build on the international reach of the Festival, forging formal links with a wide range of international organisations and encouraging cultural, civic and business exchange. Under his leadership, the Edinburgh International Festival has organised international launch events in more than 35 cities, from Sydney to Sarajevo, and Beijing to Warsaw.
The Edinburgh International Culture Summit was also the brain child of Jonathan Mills, bringing together the British Council, the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament in a partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival, to debate the importance of culture and the arts with Culture Ministers from around the world in 2012 and 2014.
Jonathan Mills said: “It has been an incredibly exciting and challenging 8 years in the one of the best jobs in the world. The audiences, the stakeholders, the artists and the staff have made it such a pleasure. I wish Fergus Linehan, my successor the very best in taking the Festival forward into the future.”