Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh festivals 'should work with Glasgow'

kris sutherland Image copyright Kris Sutherland

A report into the future of Edinburgh's festivals said the city should collaborate with Glasgow to ensure it remains the world's leading festival city.

It said the two rival cities could offer complementary events which would draw more visitors to the wider area.

It also recommended improving accommodation and transport links.

However, it said the biggest challenge for the festivals, which are held in August. was funding.

The Thundering Hooves report said with public funding shrinking, the festivals' organisers needed to find new and innovative ways of raising cash.

Key challenges

Lady Susan Rice, Festivals Forum chairwoman, said: "Following the publication of the first Thundering Hooves, the results achieved to date are compelling testament to the power of ambition and collaboration.

"We're delighted to share Thundering Hooves 2.0, an important report which sets out the strategic plan and recommended actions for Festivals Forum to take forward during the next ten years.

"While much has been delivered already, this review and re-focus will ensure Edinburgh addresses key challenges and opportunities ensuring the Festival City retains its global competitive edge in the months and years to come."

The 12 festivals the city offers include the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Edinburgh's Hogmanay.

The report noted that the festivals were "behind the curve" on digital innovation and risked being overtaken by others despite some important programmes and initiatives.

It said that Edinburgh's festivals should be a "digital phenomenon as well as a physical one" and needed to be leaders in the digital sphere as well as the festival sphere.

The report said that digital should be the next big area of growth in content distribution and audience development, across all festivals.

However, it said that developing the digital area would require significant city and national partnership and investment.

'Paid off'

The report also recommended further developing international partnerships to give the nation a voice on the world stage.

On the issue of investment, it urged funders to maintain core and project funding while alternative funding models were considered, and encouraged the wider business community to invest in the festivals.

It also recommended ways for stakeholders to develop the Festivals Forum by adopting new terms of reference and responsibilities.

Richard Lewis, Edinburgh's festivals and events champion, said: "Our festivals are worth in excess of £261m to the Scottish economy.

"While recognising the financial constraints we currently have to deal with as a local authority, we need to work together with festival partners to support their ambitions and ensure our residents, visitors, businesses and educational institutions continue to benefit from them in the future.

"The partnership approach to the first study has clearly paid off and while progress has not been possible in every area, there is a solid foundation from which to work as we all aim to take the findings of the new Thundering Hooves 2.0 report forward."

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