Thundering Hooves 2.0 - a ten year strategy for the festival city

Thundering Hooves 2.0, a major new strategy document to strengthen Edinburgh's position as the world's leading festival city, has been launched.


The report (which can be downloaded here) was commissioned by the Festivals Forum, and funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, VisitScotland (through its EventScotland team), Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland and Scottish Enterprise. Festivals and Events International (FEI) and BOP were appointed in July 2014 to undertake this major piece of work.

Following up on 2006's original Thundering Hooves report, which paved the way for Edinburgh's major festivals to work collaboratively,the study looks at the significant achievements since that time. The report examines the opportunites and threats to the festivals, at both local and global level, and proposes a strategy and action plan to build on past and present successes.

Chair of Festivals Forum Lady Susan Rice 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 report outlines six key themes for driving change, with thirty eight recommendations for action. The themes include:

  • Infrastructure and operations to evolve the festival city, to aid citizens, visitors, artists and audiences
  • Collaboration between the festivals to support education and social justice
  • Building strong partnerships internationally to give Edinburgh a greater voice worldwide
  • Balancing the live experience with the digital, through supporting the digitising of the festival city
  • Urging funders to continue core and project funding, and encouraging businesses benefiting from the festivals to invest in their future
  • Ways to develop the Festivals Forum in order to embrace new opportunites in the coming decade

Councillor Richard Lewis, Festivals & Events Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council 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.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of Edinburgh’s Festivals to the whole of Scotland. The first Thundering Hooves report was an important catalyst for Edinburgh’s major festivals and the city. Since then we have seen more collaboration, new ideas and invention and a shared vision for the future of the Festivals.
The Scottish Government is proud to support the ambitions of the festivals through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and through our national agencies, Creative Scotland and VisitScotland. We welcome today’s report as a driver for future change and will consider its recommendations in due course.
In the past ten years the environment has evolved beyond anything that could have been imagined and Edinburgh’s Festivals face new challenges and new challengers. Our festivals need to be dynamic and brave to embrace future opportunities and to protect Edinburgh’s position as the world’s leading festival city.

Ken Hay, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh added:

This is an exciting and critical time for Edinburgh’s Festivals. We are looking forward to building on the successes of our collaborative approach over the next ten years in addressing the many opportunities and challenges facing us, not least ensuring that Edinburgh retains its position as the world's leading festival city.
The Festivals thank and recognise the invaluable and ongoing support of both the Festivals Forum and our public funders in supporting our ambitions, benefitting our host city and Scotland as a whole.

A full copy of the report is available for download from

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