Arthur’s Seat will resonate to an electronic score during Edinburgh International Festival 2012. Thousands of walkers will create the music, which is triggered by altitude and movement, as they participate in NVA’s Speed of Light.

One of Scotland’s major contributions to London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad, NVA’s Speed of Light fuses sport and art, and gives audiences the chance to become a vital part of the show. During the nightly performances over the three weeks of the Edinburgh International Festival, opening on Thursday 9 August, runners who have signed up from around the world will wear specially designed light suits, dynamically illuminating the hillside.

Contributing to the spectacular patterns of light across the mountain, the audience carry specially commissioned lit walking staffs as they walk to the summit. Tickets to be part of the walking audience are still available.

Innovative software contained in the walker’s sticks now means they will also help to create the musical soundscape.

Resonance Radio Orchestra, a group devoted to the live performance of radiophonic art, has been commissioned by NVA to create the soundtrack for the audiences’ experience on the mountain. Each of the walker’s light sticks contains an individually encoded micro-computer. The score, created by Resonance Radio Orchestra, is uploaded to these computers. Movement and altitude trigger the music, causing the pitch and volume to alter. As the walkers ascend Arthur’s Seat they create a layered and ever-changing musical effect which will never be the same twice.

The walkers will be guided across Arthur’s Seat by walk leaders. Describing her experience at a recent rehearsal, walk leader Angelika Kroeger, who is travelling from Inverness to take part in the event, said:

‘At a recent training session we had the opportunity to get a glimpse of how the event will look for the audience and it surpassed all expectations. It is fascinating to watch especially against the background of the more static lights of the city. It is like watching the sea, where you can’t take your eyes off it, because it is constantly changing, and through your own movement you are part of this, of the choreography and the artwork.’


NVA’s Speed of Light takes place on:

9–12, 15 –19, 22–27, 29–31 August and 1 September
Guided walking groups meet at NVA’s Speed of Light base every 15 minutes at 9.15pm, 9.30pm, 9.45pm, 10.00pm, 10.15pm, 10.30pm, 10.45pm and 11.00pm

Tickets £24 or £18(concession) available from