Analysis: Banner year for Edinburgh Festivals

Street performer Luther Bangert on Edinburgh's Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival. Picture: Jane Barlow

Street performer Luther Bangert on Edinburgh's Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival. Picture: Jane Barlow

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The public, private and cultural leadership of the 2013 Edinburgh Festivals has proven the cultural anthropologist Dr Margaret Mead was correct when she stated: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Based upon the emerging willingness of the public, private and cultural sector to work more closely together, to finally stop wringing their hands over the challenges of the economy and instead roll up their collective sleeves and crack on with their dreams, I predicted 2013 would be a banner year in terms of ticket sales for the Edinburgh Festivals.

By working together through effective umbrella organisations such as Festivals Edinburgh, they have created in the petri dish of Edinburgh a much stronger and enduring compound. After all, is this not what the founders of the original Edinburgh Festival first dreamed?

As for tomorrow’s Edinburgh Festivals, I wonder how future advances in technology might be fully embraced and utilised by our cultural leaders to reach many more audience members.

How will the role of the once autocratic artistic director evolve in the future, as younger audiences seek greater input regarding the design, selection, format and delivery of the overall programme?

Thee answers to these questions will require visionaries, not unlike today’s inspired cultural and civic leaders, to further ensure that in 2047, when we celebrate the centennial of the Edinburgh Festivals, we will do so with ever more determination to provide greater and stronger platforms for the flowering of the human spirit in Edinburgh, in Europe and throughout the entire world.

• Professor Joe Goldblatt is head of Queen Margaret University’s International Centre for the Study of Planned Events.

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