Edinburgh festivals: ‘Must-see’ say most visitors

A poll found a 95 per cent satisfaction rate with Edinburgh's festivals. Picture: Ian Rutherford
A poll found a 95 per cent satisfaction rate with Edinburgh's festivals. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Nine out of 10 visitors to Edinburgh’s festivals believe they are “must-see” events, a new study has found.

A poll of more than 20,000 festival-goers found a 95 per cent satisfaction rate with events like the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe and the Tattoo.

The festivals also scored highly for uncovering previously unknown talent, encouraging repeat visits and persuading people to take risks when booking shows in the future.

The series of findings, published yesterday by Edinburgh City Council, revealed significant public support for events already known to deliver £260 million to the economy.

The Edinburgh Festivals Cultural Impact Study also showed that almost two-thirds of those polled wanted to take greater risks in their future attendance at cultural events after sampling shows in the city, and more than half said they were more likely to attend shows throughout the year as a result of seeing festival productions.

The study was commissioned by a “Festivals Forum”, which includes the local authority, Scottish Enterprise, Creative Scotland, EventScotland and Festivals Edinburgh, an umbrella body for the city’s major events.

The poll found that 80 per cent of those who took part in the survey believe the quality of events in Edinburgh is better than other comparable festivals they had attended.

The same proportion felt the festivals offered an opportunity to discover new talent, while 92 per cent of those polled said Edinburgh offered a chance to see artists and performances they could not catch elsewhere.

The report stated: “This evidence demonstrates that the festivals have sustained their position as highly prized platforms and showcases for performing companies, artists and thinkers from around the world.

“This cultural impact is the reason why international festival directors, programmers, cultural planners and strategists are all drawn to the city and the festivals’ wealth of culture.

“This impact was given further impetus last year when Edinburgh’s major festivals seized the opportunities arising from the UK’s status as host to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The festivals can ably demonstrate that they play a fundamental role in stimulating and developing audiences for the wider cultural offer across Europe throughout the year.”

The new study is the first major report on the capital’s 
12 main festivals since a 2010 report which found the events delivered £245m for Edinburgh’s economy – with a further £16m spread around the country – supporting 5,242 jobs.

Around a third of the 21,000 people surveyed last summer were from the Edinburgh area, while 48 per cent were from outwith Scotland. Faith Liddell, director of Festivals Edinburgh, said: “Our cultural impact study shows that once again Edinburgh’s festivals truly are cultural powerhouses which offer our audiences an experience they could not receive anywhere else in the world.

“Ninety per cent of those questioned agreed that the festivals are ‘must see’ events, with 92 per cent stating that they could not see these artists and performances anywhere else.

“The quality of the work, the opportunities for artists and their effect on audiences, lie at the heart of a festival’s success.”