Wage bill for Edinburgh’s festivals worth £20 million

Fringe fancers Emma Hamilton and Claricia Kruith ahead of the official launch of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Fringe fancers Emma Hamilton and Claricia Kruith ahead of the official launch of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Pay for performers and backstage staff working at Edinburgh’s main festivals is worth nearly £20 million, according to an official report into the “hidden” impact of the city’s signature events.

Around 90 per cent of fees for production staff is spent with Scottish companies, while nearly half of the money spent on creative talent goes to international organisations, according to the new research.

Experts found that almost two thirds of the total expenditure of the city’s main festivals supports workers on and off the stage.

The city’s main festivals support 6000 full-time jobs each year, with more than 3000 events attracting 4.5 million people.

Previous studies on the impact of the Edinburgh festivals have largely focused on their economic impact - estimated at £313 million in the most recent study published in 2016.

The new research, commissioned from BOP Consulting by Festivals Edinburgh, was ordered to look at how the festivals function as a “national cultural asset” for the country.

The study, which looked at 10 of the city’s biggest events, looked at what was spent on artists, performers and companies who appeared in Edinburgh, and what was spent behind-the-scenes to put on productions.

The report states: “The international profile, the variety of events, and the number of participants, permanent and temporary staff, combine to give the festivals a specific role in the Scotland-wide cultural and events ecosystems. Talent, ambition, skills, jobs, ideas and inspiration circulate through the system.”

The report found the city’s programme of festivals had helped ensure that the country had a “resilient” production sector.

Sorcha Carey, chair of Festivals Edinburgh, said: “Our festivals are both profoundly international and distinctly Scottish and we are proud of the unique role we play in supporting the country’s cultural sector.”

Donald Wilson, culture convener at the city council, said: “The enduring appeal of Edinburgh’s festivals to visitors is widely recognised and, with an annual reach of 4.5 million audience members, is unrivalled anywhere else in the world.

“This is the first report to document how Edinburgh’s festivals anchor the nation’s booming cultural and events sectors.

Together they support thousands of jobs and the local and Scottish economies, but the lure of the festivals for artists, directors and production staff and wider benefits for the events industry have now been explored and the results tell a compelling story.”