Investing in Edinburgh’s Festivals

6 March 2015

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, has confirmed £2.25m in funding to support the ambitions of Edinburgh’s Festivals.

Announced today [6th March 2015], the next round of the Scottish Government Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund will support twelve projects and the work of strategic umbrella organisation Festivals Edinburgh in 2015/2016. The Expo Fund provides Edinburgh Festivals with £2.25 million to promote themselves to overseas audiences and invest in the work of talented Scottish artists and performers. Running since 2008, this year’s allocation brings the total invested close to £16m.

The focus of the 2015/16 Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund is new creative works by Scottish artists, international collaboration and the promotion of Edinburgh as the best festival city in the world.

Ms Hyslop said:

The Scottish Government Expo Fund is direct investment in the future of Edinburgh’s Festivals. The fund has given the festivals scope to deliver world class pieces and performances that have caught the imagination of international audiences. Thanks to the Expo Fund festivals are working more closely together boosting tourism and Scotland’s cultural ambitions. The investment in Edinburgh’s Festival is about creating long term benefits for Scottish artists, the economy and our country’s’ international reputation. The Edinburgh festivals contribute more than £250m in additional tourism revenue to Scotland’s economy but just as important is their international profile. Edinburgh’s Festivals have been defining and promoting Scotland’s identity as a confident, creative, welcoming nation for over 65 years. We are supporting their work through the Expo Fund to fund innovation, collaboration and artist development, all vital for future success of our festivals.

Faith Liddell, Director at Festivals Edinburgh, said:

The Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund provides an incredibly powerful platform for Scotland and its artists, thinkers and companies to be showcased to the world at Edinburgh’s Festivals. As a direct result, not only have hundreds of performances and events of the best Scottish work been presented as highlights in our prestigious Festival programmes; many have also been taken to other venues and festivals around the world and new networks and opportunities have been delivered for Scotland’s artists and thinkers.

All twelve of Festival Edinburgh’s members benefit from the Expo Fund. The funded projects develop the creative industries at home and showcase Scottish talent abroad. The projects included in this round of funding are:

  • ‘A Bollywood Love Story’, a collaboration between the Edinburgh Mela and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. A forty-minute, full length show in the Bollywood tradition will be created for the Mela Festival. Key aspects of the show will also be presented as part of this year’s Edinburgh Tattoo in August.
  • The Edinburgh International Film Festival Short Film Challenge will profile new Scottish filmmakers from across the country and the EIFF Talent Lab and Animation Lab will work with emerging feature film writers, directors and producers during the 2015 Festival.
  • The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival will use the funding to create new works by Scottish musicians and opportunities for them to perform internationally.
  • The Edinburgh International Festival will premiere a new stage adaptation of a classic Scottish novel with a leading Scottish theatre in 2015.
  • Expo Funding supports Edinburgh Art Festival’s commitment to opening up new and unexpected places across the city through its annual, city-wide commissions programme, providing a platform for leading and emerging Scottish artists to make ambitious publicly-sited work.
  • How a multilingual society influences literature in Scotland and elsewhere and how language and identity shapes the writers that Scotland produces will be examined in a dedicated strand for Edinburgh International Book Festival.
  • The Mela World Dance Feste continues this year as a platform for diverse arts within Scotland and will work alongside ‘A Bollywood Love Story’
  • Expo Funding makes the Made in Scotland Showcase, part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, possible.
  • The fund has already supported Scot_Lands during the 2015 Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations earlier this year.
  • Expo Funding will support, live and digital works as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival will bring some of Scotland’s oldest cultural resource to international audiences with explorations of global issues.
  • In celebration of Scotland’s year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in 2016, the Edinburgh International Science Festival will launch a major new programme that will combine a cutting-edge technology showcase with an innovative series of associated events for teenagers.
  • Imaginate Platforms will be a celebration and showcase of Scottish-based artists who consistently create work of a world class standard for children and young people.

Festivals Edinburgh receives £250,000 to continue to promote and position Edinburgh as the world’s leading festival city. Since 2008 the Scottish Government Expo Fund has provided a legacy of important new work. This includes writing by Don Paterson, Ali Smith and James Robertson to installations by artists Callum Innes and Martin Creed at Regent Bridge and the Scotsman Steps as well as science installations and ambitious new performing arts commissions that have gone on to tour around the world.

Notes to editors

Funding (2015/16)

Edinburgh Art Festival


Edinburgh International Book Festival


Edinburgh International Film Festival


Edinburgh Festival Fringe/Made in Scotland




Edinburgh International Festival (EIF)


Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival


Edinburgh Mela


Edinburgh International Science Festival


Scottish Storytelling Festival


Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo & Edinburgh Mela


Hogmanay Festival




+ Funding for Festivals Edinburgh of £250,000

Further details on each of the funded programmes will be made by the individual festivals in due course.

The Expo Fund remains level at £2.25m for 2015 and is administered through Creative Scotland, with £2m for the festivals including the Made in Scotland fund and £250,000 for Festivals Edinburgh

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