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Have your say on the future of Winter Festivals in the Capital

Posted: 25th February 2021
  • Consultation on the future of Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay launches today
  • The survey is being carried out by independent market research company Progressive on behalf of the Council
  • Feedback will shape the future direction of Winter Festivals from 2022 onwards

Citizens are being asked for their views on how Edinburgh celebrates Christmas and New Year in a new consultation launching today (Wednesday 24 February).

The twelve-week survey, being carried out by independent market research company Progressive on behalf of the Council, is now live on the Consultation Hub. The survey seeks feedback from the Capital’s residents, communities and businesses on how Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, should be delivered from 2022 onwards.

In addition to the online consultation residents without internet access can request a paper copy by calling the Council on 0131 200 2000.

Originally planned for Spring 2020 the delivery of the consultation was delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and suspension of all public consultations. In the meantime, officers procured independent agency Progressive to allow the consultation to be delivered as soon as the suspension was lifted.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We want to hear from the people of Edinburgh both on how our Winter Festivals should be delivered and indeed what should be delivered. Their feedback to our consultation will shape the future direction of our celebrations from 2022 onwards, when the current arrangements come to an end. This is a good time to take stock and look at what people think and what people want.

“Our Winter Festivals have grown in size and renown both at home and throughout the world. Their cultural and economic importance is well documented and through this consultation we will establish a balanced knowledge of how Edinburgh citizens regard these celebrations, both positive and negative. It is therefore important that as many people as possible make their views heard and I would urge everyone, whatever their views, to spend the small amount of time needed to complete the survey and have their say.”

Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Culture and Communities Vice Convener said: “We want Edinburgh’s residents and businesses to be at the heart of shaping the future of the Winter Festivals in the Capital. We are engaging in an open public conversation about the future of these events, with opportunities to respond online or in written form.

“In this consultation, residents will be asked about their experiences of Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, as well as what activities they would like to see included in the planning and operation of the festivals in the future. We want to ensure that our future Winter Festivals achieve the right balance for those living, working in and visiting our capital city.”

The consultation will close on 19 May and the outcomes will be presented to both the Festivals and Events All Party Oversight Group and to the Culture and Communities Committee later this year.

Notes to editors
Underbelly has produced Edinburgh’s Christmas in East Princes Street Gardens, and other locations throughout the Capital, for the past eight years and continue to attract huge numbers of residents and visitors to enjoy the festivities as well as bringing significant financial and cultural benefits for the Council and city. The extension announced in 2019 will see them deliver Christmas and Hogmanay through to January 2022.

In 2019/20, over 2.6m visitors attended the Christmas festivities in Princes Street Gardens, an increase of nearly 5% on the previous year. Hogmanay continues to attract an annual audience of 75,000 for the evening of 31 December with the Torchlight Procession on 30 December and Loony Dook on 1 January both selling out, attracting an audience of 184,000 people across the three days.

Impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay had an online presence for 2020/21.

During December, The Mound Christmas tree was complemented by an LED rainbow of thanks to our key workers and NHS staff and additional festive lighting was provided across the city. Edinburgh’s makers and producers were featured on a new online platform at the Edinburgh’s Christmas Neighbourhood Market. In total, 207 local Edinburgh businesses participated in the market, reaching 195,231 people across Edinburgh’s Christmas social media channels.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay produced a series of three short films entitled ‘Fare Well’, featuring a drone swarm choreographed to a specially commissioned poem by Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, a soundtrack from Skye band Niteworks and interpreted through the designs of Scottish illustrator Gary Wilson. This was the first time that such technology had been used in the UK.

Released over three nights and narrated by David Tennant, Siobhan Redmond and Lorne MacFadyen, the films have had over 6 million direct views, generating 626 total pieces of media coverage including 126 international broadcast hits and featuring in 129 national titles.

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