A study was commissioned ten years ago to investigate the perceived dangers to Edinburgh’s pre-eminent position as the world leader in the area of festivals. The report, entitled Thundering Hooves, was published in 2006.
A second study was commissioned in August 2014. Thundering Hooves 2.0 was subsequently published in May 2015. Early articles in the media tend to regurgitate the introductory material which can be found here on the EdinburghFestivalsCity.com website. May 30th, 2015 – I eventually stumbled across this article on Thundering Hooves V2.0.
The original Thundering Hooves report in 2006 was, in my eyes, a well-written, coherent and ultimately compelling document. This is not to say that its recommendations were particularly earth-shattering. On the contrary, they should have been expected by any serious follower of Edinburgh’s festivals.
I am afraid that I find Thundering Hooves 2.0 (published in May 2015) poor fare by comparison. It comes across mainly as a sales document for Festivals Edinburgh and Festivals Forum. I shall avoid a blow by blow critique, limiting myself to two observations. There is an almost total lack of recognition of the fact that individual festivals face different problems. Secondly, the potential impact of the political situation in Scotland on the festivals is not discussed. In fairness, this particular topic is regarded as “the elephant in the room” by many organisations.
It is probably appropriate to mention the Desire Lines initiative here. Arts devotees in the city seek to make Edinburgh a culturally successful city all the year round, not just at festival time. Discussions in late 2014 and early 2015 led to the publishing of its “call to action” document in May 2015. Thundering Hooves 2.0 and Desire Lines obviously have some common objectives.