Draft Vision for a Sustainable Festival City

24 August 2021

Edinburgh can be a ‘beacon of creative and intellectual excellence’ for the world as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19, according to the draft ‘Vision for a Sustainable Festival City 2030’

Announced today ‘Vision for a Sustainable Festival City 2030, developed by the key stakeholders and funders of the Festivals Forum along with Edinburgh’s Festivals, is an ambitious draft vision for what a world-leading sustainable festival city should look and feel like by the end of the decade.

 The draft Vision outlines a commitment to develop the festival city as a beacon of creative and intellectual excellence for the new future that societies worldwide must create: ‘By nurturing distinctive, inclusive, sustainable, and outward-looking festivals, we will bring people together to champion the human connections that can help people navigate the unknown in our disrupted and potentially destructive age’.

Announcing the draft Vision, Susan Deacon, Chair of the Festivals Forum, said: “Creativity, adaptation and innovation have always been key to the success of Edinburgh’s Festivals and it is these very qualities that will give the Festivals a crucial role in the recovery of Edinburgh and Scotland in the years to come. As the world starts to look to the future, this is a time to work together to reimagine and renew Edinburgh’s future as a model of a world-leading festival city through collective effort and investment.”

Central to the draft Vision are 8 key ‘principles’ seen as essential to a world-leading sustainable festival city:

  • Inspiring everyone: inclusive festival experiences
  • People-centred spaces: welcoming and accessible places
  • Valuable skills and work: creative learning opportunities and rewarding careers
  • Global solidarity: local and global issues connected
  • Common purpose: shared cultural value and goals
  • Agile infrastructure: renewed cultural facilities
  • Sustainable mindsets: sustainable procurement and responsible audience choices
  • Low carbon systems: decarbonised power and circular waste management

Over eight decades, the Edinburgh Festivals’ constant focus on programming excellence, while also connecting local and global voices, has created a resource for Scotland of unmatched cultural influence, and a source of joy and meaning for generations of citizens. As a crucible for Scotland’s creativity, the festivals will be essential to national renewal, to revitalising Scotland’s global reputation, to projecting Scotland’s contemporary creative energy, and to sharing the values of our open, outward looking citizens.

The draft Vision statement, and its associated ‘principles’, will now form the basis of a series of discussions and consultations – details of which will be available this Autumn - with the resulting plan replacing Thundering Hooves 2.0, the earlier strategy written in 2015. 

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