Edinburgh residents and businesses to be at the heart of shaping the future of Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay

Underbelly sees contract extended to produce Edinburgh’s Winter Festivals for two more years

How Edinburgh celebrates Christmas and New Year is to be consulted on for the first time by the City of Edinburgh Council as part of its Winter Festivals announcement today. (Tuesday 18 June)

Building on an extremely successful first two years as producer of Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay Festivals, the Council has announced that Underbelly’s contract will be extended by two years, exercising the extension option as outlined in their 2017 contract.

Underbelly has produced Edinburgh’s Christmas in East Princes Street Gardens, and other locations throughout the Capital, for the past six years and continue to attract huge numbers of residents and visitors to enjoy the festivities as well as bringing significant financial and cultural benefits for the Council and city. The extension will see them deliver Christmas and Hogmanay through to January 2022.

In addition to part funding Edinburgh’s three-day Hogmanay festivities, income from Edinburgh’s Christmas has also funded improvements to visitor services at the Scott Monument and City Art Centre; delivered the city’s Festivals and Events programme; supported the Burns & Beyond Festival; and supported the seven-day operation of the city’s museums and galleries.

Under the terms of the extension, Underbelly will maintain its commitment to ensure that East Princes Street Gardens – including the areas benefiting from National Galleries of Scotland’s improvement works – are protected.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay festivals are internationally renowned, and we should all take great pride in the fact they are recognised and enjoyed by residents as well as visitors, bringing significant financial and cultural benefits to the local economy. 

“In order to sustain this success, now is the right time to have a broader conversation with our residents, businesses and other stakeholders about how we want our future winter festivals to look in future.

“While reflecting the continued success of Underbelly as producers of the festivals, the extension gives us the time we need to do this properly. We’ll then be able to carry out a procurement exercise directly informed by this feedback.”

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors, Underbelly, said: “We’re delighted that our successful delivery of Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has led to this extension and we can now plan to deliver the best possible celebrations for the people of Edinburgh and our visitors through to January 2022.

“We also welcome the consultation with residents and businesses and look forward to joining in the process. Underbelly is committed to creating world-leading cultural events that are financially sustainable and which respect and protect the environment and greenspaces.”

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