Edinburgh Launches Ambitious Festivals Vision

1 July 2022

Today, for the first time in their long history, the Edinburgh Festivals have come together with their stakeholders on the Edinburgh Festivals Forum to launch a joint Vision for the future.

Launched in the festivals’ 75th anniversary year, Edinburgh: City of Imagination is a vision for a resilient and ambitious Festival City by 2030 – based on the unique value the festivals bring in connecting people, inspiring creative ideas, and bringing places alive in concentrated moments of communal celebration.

The 2030 Vision is to be a world leading sustainable festival city, based on six ambitions and an accompanying series of twelve actions across festivals and their stakeholders - a collective effort and leadership aimed at ensuring that Edinburgh’s Festival City flourishes even in uncertain times. It recognises that in order to renew and rebuild after two damaging years, there is a need to adapt in this changed era while holding onto fundamental purposes.

Announcing the 2030 Vision, Susan Deacon, chair of the Festivals Forum said:

"Edinburgh’s Festivals are vital to Scotland’s culture, economy and place in the world, and they will be at the heart of the recovery and renewal of our capital city. I hope that the ambitions and actions set out here will help forge the renewed leadership and collective effort needed to support a renaissance for Edinburgh’s Festival City."

At the heart of the 2030 Vision are the six collective ambitions:

  1. Global Solidarity: Edinburgh’s Festivals are proudly internationalist, a defining value since their foundation – and it will be vital to see festivals, national agencies and governments at all levels working together to push for the best possible conditions for the free exchange of people and ideas across borders.
  2. Valuable Skills and Work: the Festivals rely on, and help nurture, Scotland’s wealth of cultural talent, connecting them with international peers and ideas – and it is imperative to rebuild
  1. opportunities for Edinburgh’s artists, workers and traders, along with Scotland-wide pathways for creation, production and participation, and the national events supply chain.
  2. Connected Local Communities: Prior to the pandemic, Edinburgh’s Festivals had developed extensive links with city community groups and schools – and for festivals to create deeper relationships with community and education partners will require sustainable longer-term resourcing of wider cultural and social services, as well as of the programmes themselves.
  3. Vibrant, Sustainable, Gathering Places: Edinburgh’s citizens value their festivals for the communal joy they bring, the pride they create, and the livelihoods they support – and to redevelop successfully will require investment for works of excellence, innovation and risk, and
  1. integrated multi-year planning from local and national authorities.
  2. Net Zero Carbon Future: Edinburgh’s Festivals recognise that in order to flourish, they need to find innovative, sustainable ways of operating in a net zero carbon future – and they have created a shared carbon reduction route map which identifies how they will reduce emissions in line with Edinburgh’s goal to be a net zero carbon city by 2030.
  3. Increased Resilience, Partnership and Investment: the Covid-19 crisis brought into stark relief the fragilities of the entire culture sector, especially its long-term financial sustainability and ability to invest in change – and it is a priority to identify new investment and partnership models that can support maximum resilience and public value.

Commenting on the 2030 Vision, Simon Gage, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh, said:

"This vision sets us on course for action. It is the starting point for each festival to consider the shared ambitions and identify their particular areas of contribution; and for joint efforts across the festivals, funders and stakeholders to identify how we can thrive as a world leading sustainable festival city in this decisive decade."

This 2030 Vision replaces the previous Thundering Hooves strategies (released in 2006 and 2015) and is the result of an extensive process of review and reflection based on a draft Vision released in August 2021 - which involved a wide range of discussions including with residents, through Edinburgh community councils, and local artists, through Creative Edinburgh, among others.

You can read and download the full 2030 Vision HERE.

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