The Festival City
Edinburgh is the world's leading festival city, presenting an unforgettable mix of cultural experiences in an iconic and beautiful city. It is an astonishing place to live, offering for artists and audiences a wonderful opportunity to engage and exchange with a whole world of creative experiences and irresistible distractions.
The city gained UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1995, which was granted for the contrast of the antique charm of the Old Town (from the year 1074 onwards) and the formal grandeur of the New Town (1759 onwards). This rich architectural heritage is complemented by a dynamic contemporary building programme which creates an incredible range of festival spaces.
What happens in Edinburgh could not happen anywhere else and our Festivals literally and distinctively inhabit every corner of the historic heart of the city – every theatre, every hall, every courtyard, every basement, every park. From the Castle Esplanade to the ancient backstreets of the mediaeval Old Town, from the grand gardens of the 18th century Charlotte Square to the narrow, cobbled side streets off the Royal Mile, from the grandeur of the Festival Theatre to the dark intimacy of the city’s Masonic Halls.
This delicious density, this wealth of choice for visitors and locals alike, has been allowed to flourish and thrive with the backing of the City of Edinburgh Council, partner funders and key stakeholders who have supported the Festivals as well as the ambition and vision of their directors.
An Events Planning and Operations Group is co-ordinated by the City of Edinburgh Council and together with the work of its Events Team, the Arts and Learning Team, the Public Safety Team, the Licensing Division, the Culture and Sport Division, the Economic Development Division – and a number of other officers across environmental health, parks, and libraries – the Council plays a crucial role in creating the environment in which the Festivals flourish. In addition many high ranking Council officials are Board members and active Trustees of the individual Festival Boards.
As the world’s leading Festival City, Edinburgh – and vitally, its public bodies and administration - takes pride in its festivals and their quality, quantity and rich diversity. Experience and research have shown that it is the wonderfully cosmopolitan, colourful, open minded atmosphere of Edinburgh’s Festivals combined with the compact, historical beauty of the city itself that sit at the heart of the Edinburgh Festivals brand.
And more than ever it is in challenging times such as we are experiencing now that we are reminded of the importance of a flourishing festivals scene. The importance of Edinburgh’s Festivals as major draws for tourism, as major contributors to the quality of life in Edinburgh and as a uniquely appealing aspect of the city’s offer to businesses and their employees is a more recently recognised but hugely significant factor. The strength, vibrancy and international reputation of Edinburgh’s Festivals are a driver for the success and profile of the city and of Scotland.