Global pop superstar​ Taylor Swift bejewelled our city

Crowd view of Taylor Swift performing at The Eras Tour

Council Leader Cammy Day writes about the impact of global pop superstar Taylor Swift performing in Edinburgh.

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that pop sensation Taylor Swift performed in Edinburgh over the weekend, entertaining some 220,000 adoring fans over three days at Murrayfield in what were the biggest stadium shows ever seen in Scotland.

And it hasn’t escaped my attention just how much it meant to the hundreds of thousands of Swifties who travelled from far and wide to see her – but also to the city, businesses and residents.

These sell-out shows brought huge and wide-ranging benefits to the city – reflected both in terms of the estimated up to £77m it contributed to the local economy, but also as a further boost to our global reputation as a great place to live, work and visit.

There was a palpable buzz across the capital throughout the weekend but also in the lead up to it, with media descending on the city to capture the countdown to the first of Taylor’s UK gigs. And thanks to our Forever Edinburgh’s ‘Swiftie Fan Hub’ and a hugely popular ‘Taylored Taste Trail’ there was plenty to see, do and enjoy.

A phenomenal amount of planning goes into hosting these events and council teams worked tirelessly in the run up to, and during, the weekend to make sure everything ran safely and smoothly. They also worked well into the night to ensure the areas around Murrayfield were clean and tidy.

Swifties were also fortunate enough to have our marshals on hand, guiding them to where they needed to be and making sure everyone was safe and well. I know these colleagues are immensely proud to represent their city and I hope they enjoyed the experience.

Overall, this felt like a real Team Edinburgh approach, with partners including the SRU, Lothian Buses, Edinburgh Trams, ScotRail, Transport Scotland and the emergency services all playing their part in a hugely successful weekend.

Events of this magnitude carry an inevitable level of disruption for our residents and businesses – and I’d like to thank them for their patience and understanding during these incredibly busy few days. I’d also like to pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Swifties for their behaviour which, by all accounts, was exemplary.

Of course, there are always things we can do better and, with these events becoming more common place at Murrayfield and elsewhere, we’ll continue to work with the SRU and other partners to improve the experience for our concert goers, while keeping disruption to a minimum.

Striking this balance is key to maintaining our global reputation as a place to visit – but, just as importantly, as a place to live. One way we can do this is by charging a visitor levy, a small percentage fee on overnight accommodation, which can then be reinvested in the city. And, with the Scottish Parliament voting to give us those powers last month, plans are underway to introduce this from summer 2026.

Just to give an example of the scale and importance of this opportunity, had a 5% levy had been in place over the weekend, we would have had an (estimated) additional £632,000 to reinvest in our city’s culture, heritage and infrastructure – to the benefit of our visitors and, crucially, to the people who live here all year round.

With our world-famous summer of festivals just around the corner, this was a fantastic start to an incredible summer of culture in the Capital. Keep your ‘Eyes Open’ for updates on the upcoming festival season! 

Published: June 12th 2024