Image Gradient
BOP Consulting Logo | HomeButton
Edinburgh’s 10-year strategy to sustain and strengthen its world leading festival city status
image gradient

Image Credit: Visual Stories || Micheile

Edinburgh’s 10-year strategy to sustain and strengthen its world leading festival city status

BOP's Sabina Strachan on ‘Thundering Hooves 2.0’, the BOP-FEI strategy for Edinburgh’s Festivals Forum.

Callum Lee

Managing Director

Callum leads the BOP team, its portfolio and strategic partnerships. His cultural and creative industries expertise is founded on leading analytical research and policy formulation in the UK and internationally.

Callum Lee - Managing Director  | BOP Consulting

Planning a new project?

If you are interested to learn more about our work or if you have a project you would like to discuss, get in touch.




Festivals Edinburgh


Projects Sectors

Today marks the culmination of BOP’s year-long project with Festivals and Events International to develop the future strategy for Edinburgh’s Festivals in partnership with the strategic stakeholder group Festivals Forum.

An end but also a beginning, as the Forum – which includes the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, VisitScotland, EventScotland, the British Council and Festivals Edinburgh – and the Festivals themselves move forward with the implementation of 38 recommendations over the next 10 years.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said, “The Scottish Government recognises the importance of Edinburgh’s Festivals to the whole of Scotland…. We welcome today’s report as a driver for future change”.

Our research shows that “Edinburgh is the undisputed world leader as a festival city”. It has achieved a great deal in an ever-changing and often challenging context over the last 10 years during which the Festivals have responded organisationally, innovatively, and entrepreneurially. BOP’s 2011 Impact Study also shows that the festivals are worth at least £261 million to the Scottish economy and we are in the process of updating that impact study, with the results due in 2016.

We identified six key themes, which emerged as significant drivers of change. These are:

  • The Festival City: Infrastructure and operations need to continue to evolve to ensure The Festival City provides an unrivalled experience for its citizens, and the artists, audiences and opinion-formers who visit from around the world

  • Deep and Wide Engagement: The festivals will collaborate to support educational aims and social justice through participation, learning and belonging

  • National and Global Positioning: Relationship-building and developing strong international partnerships is central to forging a new understanding of leadership for the city and Scotland, with branding and marketing providing a voice on the world stage

  • Digital Ways and Means: Looking at the balance between the live and the digital experience, and developing a strategy to make the most of new technologies incorporating partnerships across the public and private sector

  • Investment and Enterprise: Recognising the challenges facing public finances, the report urges that funders maintain existing levels whilst alternative funding models are considered

  • Developing and Delivering: Recommendations of ways for stakeholders to develop the Festivals Forum including new terms of reference and responsibilities, to allow the structures to evolve and embrace new opportunities to take Edinburgh’s Festivals through the next decade.

In order to sustain and strengthen the festivals and the benefits they bring, our report makes it clear that “the next 10 years is about capitalising on this reputation and advantage, finding new ways of experiencing and investing in one of Scotland’s greatest assets.”

The Chair of the Festivals Forum, Lady Susan Rice, said: “While much has been delivered already, this review and re-focus will ensure Edinburgh addresses key challenges and opportunities ensuring the Festival City retains its global competitive edge in the months and years to come.”

The full report "Thundering Hooves 2.0" can be downloaded below.

MARCUS ADDED URL-slug edinburgh-festivals-10-year-strategy

In order to sustain and strengthen the festivals and the benefits they bring, our report makes it clear that “the next 10 years is about capitalising on this reputation and advantage, finding new ways of experiencing and investing in one of Scotland’s greatest assets.”

Project Report

Thundering Hooves 2.0 – A Ten Year Strategy to Sustain the Success of Edinburgh’s Festivals

Building on our contribution to the second edition of the report in 2018, BOP has led as the Data and Research partner on this report to help find out how policies can protect people working in the creative and cultural sectors.

UNESCO's Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity Report – Addressing culture as a global public good


Our strategy will guide the creation of a new digital service aiming at supporting and developing the creative scene in Downtown Kingston.

Leveraging the creative potential of Downtown Kingston through technology

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

Our research into the UK's high streets found that 69% of people think culture on their high street makes their area a better place to live.

Culture: The cornerstone of the UK’s high streets

Arts Council England

BOP’s updated Handbook for the Inter-American Development Bank sets out strategies for sustainability and urban resilience

Creative and Cultural Industries and Urban Revitalisation in the post-COVID era

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We investigated the potential impact of AI on the cultural and creative industries.

Opportunities and Challenges of AI for the Cultural and Creative Industries

European Commission

Published today: ‘Design for Good: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards’, a new publication from the RSA, co-authored by BOP

A History of Bright Ideas: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards

The Royal Society for Arts (RSA)

New skills research in the Gulf Co-operation Council States

An evidence-base for the growing Gulf festivals sector

British Council

Our research into the museum workforce is launched

Conscientiousness, optimism, and curiosity

Museums Galleries Scotland

BOP’s report for Nanjing City Government demonstrates the importance of cross-cutting policies with a compelling cultural offer at the core

Creating Healthy Night-time Economies in World Cities

Nanjing Creative Center

Findings from our work at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Creativity in health settings


How is China influencing the future of Cultural Tourism?

Cultural Infrastructure for the 21st Century

Chengdu Media Group

Based on our impact analysis we estimate $750 billion in lost GVA for the CCI as a result of the pandemic so far.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on the Cultural and Creative Industries


Our analysis of the strengths & challenges of music in the Midlands is published

Hitting the right notes in the Midlands

Arts Council England

New handbook published for city leaders

How can cities make space for culture?

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Our report sheds new light on how building the capacity of the heritage sector can assist working internationally

International working builds stronger heritage sector at home

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Our new report with Nesta published

Opportunities for China-UK Cooperation through Equity Crowdfunding


Our new research report for the National Trust

Protect urban heritage to prevent growth in inequality

National Trust

Our latest research for the Reading Agency shows we should read year-round

Reading is for life, not just for August

The Reading Agency

Our review of the Scottish Animation Sector, commissioned by Creative Scotland, has just been published

Review of the Scottish Animation Sector

Creative Scotland

UK-wide study of visitor experience practice provides new benchmarks for cultural and visitor attractions

Sharing Operations and Visitor Experience insight


Related Projects

Strategy and Policy Design

Callum Lee - Managing Director  | BOP Consulting

Callum Lee

Managing Director