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Getting tickets for the International Festival (EIF) - Booking in advance
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Getting tickets for the International Festival (EIF)
Booking in advance
Booking during the Festival

Booking in advance

More than any of the other Festivals, the EIF does a roaring trade in bookings well before August arrives. Those who pay £50 for priority booking get a couple of weeks' head start; this is the only reliable way to get tickets for the hottest events, including the opening concert and the bandstand seating for the fireworks finale. Public booking opens in early April.

Charmingly, the Festival still offers a paper booking form (download it here), on which you can fill in your first and second choices for dates and enclose a cheque "with the maximum I am prepared to pay indicated next to my signature". This quaint option is actually quite handy if you'd like to be in at the very start of the booking period, since you can just send your form off to wait in the queue until public booking opens. After that, most people will prefer the immediacy of booking on the phone or online.

Booking online
"The online booking system for the EIF has to be among the most sophisticated in the world... it's almost worth logging on to play with the technology"

The online booking system for the EIF has to be among the most sophisticated there is: you can look at exact plans of all the venues, see precisely which seats are at which prices, choose just the spot you want (an aisle seat, perhaps) and book as many tickets as you need in a single transaction. Even if you have no intention of buying, it's almost worth logging on to play with the technology. The website can struggle to cope at peak times, although - to be fair - this is only really an issue when the booking period opens.

The box office phone line on 0131 473 2000 is open from 10am to 5pm, six days a week (or daily until 7:30 from 29 July). It can be busy at times, but you'll generally get through, and the staff are happy to help with information once you're connected.

If you happen to be in Edinburgh, you can also call in at the Hub, as described on the next page. But note, outside of the Festival period, it's only open to 5pm and is closed on Sundays.

In a pleasing break from tradition, there's no booking fee for online bookings, and the service charge if you choose to phone or visit the Hub is a flat £1.  However you book, it's an extra 60p to have your tickets posted to you - to our minds though, it's simpler and safer to pick them up at the box office, which you can do for free.



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