Highland Show must go online thanks to grant

With preparations well underway to mark this year’s 200th anniversary of the Royal Highland Show, the organisers yesterday revealed that they had secured a “game changing” £200,000 of funding from the Scottish Government to broadcast the show online.

The show - which is set to go ahead this year as an in-person event after two years of Covid restrictions - will, however, have the daily attendance limited to 50,000 .

And with no tickets on sale at the gate, show organisers stressed that these would need to be purchased in advance through the online booking site.

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With the televised element taking its cue from last year’s showcase event - which saw the competitive classes judged behind closed doors and live-streamed to almost 100 countries around the globe - coverage will consist of two channels of live and pre-recorded content broadcast throughout the four days of the Edinburgh event.

The organisers said that the free-to-view content would also be available to watch back on the Royal Highland Show YouTube channel – as well as being transmitted across the showground to giant screens during the four-day run which takes place Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, on 23-26 June.

Last year’s broadcast showcase event – which was supported by £750,000 of Scottish Government funding saw a total of 345,701 viewers tune into the event from 97 countries.

RHASS chairman, Bill Gray said the new funding would allow the best of food, farming and rural Scotland to once more be exhibited to audiences around the globe.

“The value the Show brings to the economy and also to Scotland the brand is reflected in the level of support we have received from the Scottish Government, for which we are very grateful,” he added.

Turning to those who planned to attend in person, Gray encouraged prospective showgoers to book tickets early to secure a place as, with the 50,000 attendance limit, sell-out days were anticipated.

He also reinforced the message that tickets, including for car parking, had to be pre-purchased online this year and that no tickets would be available to buy at the gate.

And while entry for children aged under 15 is still free when when accompanied by an adult, this too, has to be reserved online.

A spokesperson said that while the society had received criticism from some quarters about the need to register online, the move had been taken as part of a nationwide initiative to deliver safer shows – adding that it also gave a “belt and braces” approach should there be any major development on the pandemic front.

She said that while RHASS members were also required to book the days they were coming this was in no way an attempt to put them off.

“If we know there are days when members aren’t attending then we can account for this and make more tickets available for sale on that particular day.”

The society, she added, was happy to help anyone over the phone who felt they lacked the required tech skills to book their tickets and would talk them through the on-line booking process.

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