Edinburgh University income from festivals more than doubles in a decade

The University of Edinburgh made £2.45 million from festival related activities in 2018, new figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request have revealed.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 2:45 pm
The University of Edinburgh has seen income from festivals more than double since 2008 (Photo: Shutterstock)

The institution has seen income rocket as the University uses more of its buildings and facilities as venues for the various festivals in the city.

When compared to 2004’s income of £100,639, the University has seen the proportional income from festivals through its commercial arm rise from 1.7 per cent to 13 per cent in 15 years.

Income doubled since 2008

The University operates its venues and accommodation during the city’s festivals through its subsidiary company, UoE Accommodation Ltd.

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This company is described as the vehicle for the University’s “commercial exploitation” of its facilities, including all commercial activity relating to accommodation, catering and events.

The company has seen its turnover rocket in the last 15 years, from just over £5m in 2003/04 to nearly £19m in 2017/18. Since 2008, the University has seen its festival income more than double, from nearly £1.1m a decade ago to £2.45m in 2018.

The University’s most recent accounts show a profit of more than £4m from the operations of UoE Accommodation Ltd. All profit created by the company is donated with gift aid back to the University itself.

Earlier this year, the University banned the controversial Fringe company C Venues from using its buildings after it was branded the worst employer at the Fringe. C Venues had used the University owned Adam House on Chambers Street as its main venue for nearly 20 years.

The move followed a review by the University into “terms and conditions around staff employment” at the venue, after pressure from the Fringe campaign group, Fair Fringe.

Helping festivals go from strength to strength

A spokesman for the University of Edinburgh said, “The University is proud to play a vital role in the cultural life of the city. As part of this, it provides access to teaching and other buildings across the University, providing a diverse range of venues for the city’s festivals.

“This helps the festivals go from strength to strength and delivers a top quality experience for Edinburgh residents as well as those who visit to enjoy the programme of events.

She added, “The University’s involvement in Edinburgh’s festivals is managed by UoE Accommodation Ltd (UoEAL). All of UoEAL’s net income is gift aided to the University and reinvested through the University’s capital programme.

“This includes investment in buildings which provide both teaching and festival venues alongside research infrastructure and student accommodation.

“The growth in gross income from our involvement in the Festivals reflects the growth in utilisation of the University’s estate outside of teaching weeks for this purpose.”

The University did not answer questions about how the income or any profit from the activities is specifically spent, nor respond to questions about whether the company had set targets for future growth through festival activities.