Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Underbelly wins Edinburgh winter festivals contract

Big Wheel Image copyright Robert Ramsay

Underbelly has won the contract to produce Edinburgh's world-famous winter festivals for the next three years.

Councillors agreed to award the tender for the city's Christmas and Hogmanay festivities to Underbelly, the operator of Edinburgh's Christmas since 2013.

Unique Events has had the contract for Edinburgh's Hogmanay previously.

In January City of Edinburgh Council said funding for Edinburgh's winter festivals had been cut by £450,000 with no money being allocated for Christmas.

Extraordinary work

Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, of Underbelly, said: "We're absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to produce Edinburgh's Christmas and Hogmanay.

"We've hugely enjoyed helping to develop Edinburgh's Christmas for the last four years and we couldn't be more excited about the next three years.

"We're honoured to be building on the extraordinary work and success of Pete Irvine and Unique Events since the start of Edinburgh's Hogmanay. We look forward to announcing our plans for both events in due course.

"We can however confidently say that our plans for both events are exciting and hugely ambitious and will see an expansion and growth of Edinburgh's Winter Festivals rather than any diminishing of them. Watch this space."

Huge importance

Richard Lewis, Edinburgh's festivals and events champion, said: "Edinburgh's winter festivals provide the city and Scotland with unrivalled promotion and shape the Capital's reputation as a great place to live, work and visit.

"Last year, the combined economic impact of the events were estimated at £160m demonstrating the huge importance these events place on the success of Edinburgh's winter economy.

"The appointment of these contracts is confirmation for the city that, despite the financial pressures facing the council, these important events will continue to operate for the benefit of the people of Edinburgh and our many thousands of visitors.

"I am sure Underbelly's activities will build on the huge success of Edinburgh's winter festivals to date. Along with Council officers past and present, I wish to thank Unique Events for continuously providing the city and Scotland with Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations over two decades."

Edinburgh's official Hogmanay celebrations were established by the City of Edinburgh Council in 1993.

A Unique Events spokesman said: "Unique Events are deeply disappointed in the recent tender process held by City of Edinburgh Council with regard to Edinburgh's winter festivals and hugely saddened by the decision not to continue with our services as producers of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, a festival which we created and have produced for over 24 years."

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