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Inquiry aims to keep Edinburgh as world's top festival location

A new investigation into whether Edinburgh's festivals can maintain their pre-eminent position on the world's cultural stage is to be launched.

REFLECTIVE: Exhibit B examines racism and colonial history in Europe and Africa. Picture: Stewart Attwood
REFLECTIVE: Exhibit B examines racism and colonial history in Europe and Africa. Picture: Stewart Attwood

In 2006, the Thundering Hooves report warned Edinburgh's position as the "festival city" was under threat from the cultural ambitions of other cities.

Now the Festival Forum, a body that oversees the strategy of the city's many festivals including the Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), has appointed two UK consultancies to review the success of the festivals since then.

The report, to be published in April next year, will be written in a bid to chart the course of the festivals for the next 10 years.

The plan comes on the day two of the major festivals of the city, the EIF - which opened on Friday - and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which begins today, get into full swing.

Thundering Hooves warned that UK cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle were holding events could soon be serious rivals, and that festivals were also being challenged by Olympic and other sports festival cultural events, as well as arts initiatives in the Middle East, especially the Gulf States, Australia and Asia.

These fast-developing rivals were the "thundering hooves" of the title. The new report will be written by Festivals and Events International and BOP Consulting. It will look at the success of efforts initiated by the 2006 plan and include a "a rigorous and extensive analysis of the challenges, opportunities and context within which Edinburgh's festivals operate, individually and collectively."

The report - to be called Thundering Hooves 2.0 - will be delivered in April 2015.

A study following the last report found that the festivals bring £250m into Edinburgh's economy.

Faith Liddell, director of Festivals Edinburgh, the festival's umbrella body, said: "We are delighted to have the combined expertise and insight of Festivals and Events International and BOP Consulting, to work with our festivals, their stakeholders, partners and funders, to ensure that we are in a position to address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and ensure we retain our world-leading position."

The work for the report is funded by Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, EventScotland, the British Council Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh.

The EIF opened last night with a concert at the Usher Hall by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with solo performances from pianist Kirill Gerstein and soprano Claire Booth in a programme of Schoenberg, Scriabin and Debussy.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival opens its doors today under the theme of Let's Talk.

It features more than 900 writers from 47 countries in its tents and yurts in Charlotte Square Gardens.

Nick Barley, director of the book festival, said: "The festival provides a crucial forum for dialogue, where we can listen to and learn from one another, particularly in this year of momentous events in Scotland."

Several events have sold out at the festival, including George R R Martin, author of the Game of Thrones series and Haruki Murakami, who makes his first trip to Edinburgh to launch the English edition of his latest novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage.

The book festival runs until August 25.

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

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