The COVID-19 pandemic created a global hiatus for events and festivals. The requirement for whole countries to stay at home and avoid contact with other people led to numerous events and festivals being paused, cancelled or redeveloped into a virtual format. With many cancelled events at risk of permanent cancellation, the pandemic has also reinforced the value of festivals and events to both society and to destinations.The closure of businesses, festivals and cultural activities due to COVID-19 has imposed a significant social and economic loss to the City of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Festivals consists of 11 recurring events held in Edinburgh each year. The most famous of these events are the August festivals, which include the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. For the first time in 74 years, the need to prioritise the safety of audiences, artists, participants and staff resulted in live versions of all five festivals being cancelled for 2020 and some festivals moving to either an online or a hybrid format in 2020 and 2021.This project extends existing work done to establish a new model for examining the festival and event lifecycle using a case study of Edinburgh’s festivals (Holmes & Ali-Knight, 2017). This research examined the impacts of COVID-19 on festivals in an eventful destination and how festival managers have responded to the ongoing pandemic.


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Kerr, G., Stewart, H., Ali-Knight, J. & Holmes, K. 2022, Covid & Innovation within Edinburgh's Festivals: Post-Covid-19 Recovery, Innovation & Technology, Edinburgh Napier University. Available at: http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2874895

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Last updated: 27 September 2022
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