The UK Government has announced £1 million funding to Edinburgh Festivals for a new digital platform to promote UK talent and content to producers both here and abroad.

The money will be used for two new projects Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced providing new ways for people to access events virtually.

The Edinburgh Festivals are the biggest combined festivals in the UK, attracting audiences of nearly 5 million every year, generating £313 million for Scotland’s economy alone, and providing unparalleled opportunities for artists across the country. £500,000 will be available for the festival organisers to increase their digital capabilities. The 11 festivals can apply for a share of that fund supporting new ways of commissioning producing and promoting festival programmes digitally. There is to be an encouragement of collaboration between events with live and digital elements.

Another £500,000 will be provided to create a new digital platform that will help national and international buyers and producers search for talent and content from the festivals’ hugely varied programmes, which showcase thousands of artists and performers every year, and promote the work of British artists and performers around the world. 

The funding will be available this financial year. IN 2018 the UK Government awarded £100,000 to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe to help promote connections between UK artists and international producers.

Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary, said: “Edinburgh’s Festivals have long been a springboard for the very best of British talent and a vital part of culture in Scotland and the UK. The UK Government’s investment will promote it to a worldwide audience online, helping the UK’s biggest combined festival build back better from the pandemic.”

Iain Stewart, UK Government Minister for Scotland, said: “Edinburgh is world-famous for its festivals, bringing wider benefits to Scotland’s economy, tourism and arts sectors. We know the last 12 months have been difficult for the culture sector. This £1 million funding boost will support organisations to improve their digital capabilities and engage with audiences here in Scotland and further afield. 

“This is on top of £97 million we provided last year to the Scottish Government to support Scotland’s arts organisations through the pandemic. Like everyone else, I look forward to our fantastic arts and culture coming back better than ever before, as soon as it is safe to do so.”  

Sorcha Carey, Chair, Festivals Edinburgh, said:  “While live events in Edinburgh will remain the backbone of our world-class festivals, it’s crucial that we enhance our digital operations and so we’re delighted with this incredible support from the UK Government which will help reposition our work, and the work of creatives, across the digital world.”

Sorcha Carey Chair Festivals Edinburgh