Risk Management at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Scotland

Case Study: Risk Management at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Scotland is internationally recognised as the home of Hogmanay (a Scottish word for New Year’s Eve). Every year, the city of Edinburgh celebrates New Year’s Eve with a huge street party named Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. This is one of the largest New Year’s Eve parties in the world, and has had up to 400,000 attendees in the past, although numbers have been reduced considerably in recent years in order to improve crowd safety at the event.The event was initially unticketed, however, some years back a ticketing system was introduced to limit attendee numbers. Revelers now have to buy a street party pass wristband and must have a street party pass to enter the huge Princes Street Edinburgh New Year’s Eve party. Princes Street (one of the main streets in Edinburgh city centre) is blocked off at dusk on 31 December in an effort to control crowd numbers. Only those with official passes (wristbands) are allowed entry. Approximately 80,000 people now attend each year. In addition, the street party and associated events are not recommended for those under 16, and anyone under that age must be accompanied by an adult over 21 years of age. Despite such large numbers attending, the event is famous for its relaxed party atmosphere, and there are comparatively few issues of disorder.The event has expanded over the years and now includes a street carnival which runs from 27 December and a huge torchlight procession through the city with massed pipers, a bonfire and fireworks display on 30 December. The main part of the event is held on 31 December and includes a concert, the street party in Princes Street, a ceilidh (Scottish dance), and a fireworks display. A substantial proportion of the visitors each year are not local and so the event facilitates their enjoyment of the New Year in the city centre.However, New Year in Scotland is mid-winter and there is always a risk of poor weather. Naturally the organisers are aware of this possibility and make every effort to ensure that their plans allow for wintry weather. They also remind visitors to wrap up warmly and to check the weather forecasts before leaving home to attend the event. However, on several occasions over the past decade, the event has been cancelled due to gale force winds which made both the concert, and particularly the fireworks display, too dangerous to hold. The high winds ripped the awnings and the roof from the stage, and the rain damaged the electrics around the stage area. In addition, the police decided that the high winds would make it too dangerous to set off the fireworks. Thousands of ticket holders were disappointed. The 2006/2007 event was also called off because of poor weather, although a small firework display did proceed.Naturally there were some losses to local businesses in the short term, however, the greater concern has been for the long-term reputation of the event and its ability to continue to attract tourist interest and revenue to the city in the winter holiday season. News headlines such as ‘Street party blown away’ and ‘Weather spoils the party’ show the risk to the reputation of the event. In addition, it is likely to become more problematic in the future. Edinburgh City Council has identified climate change, and its attendant risks of disruption and/or cancellation of winter festival and Hogmanay celebrations as a significant risk to tourism and economic development.Source: Holmes, K, Hughes, M, Mair, J, & Carlsen, J 2015 Events and sustainability Routledge, Abingdon (See p.148, Chapter 10)Case Questions1. Through your own research and as part of a risk assessment, identify and outline the main risks highlighted in the case above.2. Using the Risk Matrix, rank/rate the risks associated with this case. Briefly justify your ranking/assessment(s).3. Choosing 3 identified risks from your Risk Matrix (i.e. across a range such as: low, moderate, major); in each case outline the appropriate response strategies to these perceived risks.4. What are the main/common risks associated with holding large events? Giving examples where appropriate, evaluate the impact of risk on managed public events.

 

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Risk Management at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Scotland was first posted on August 10, 2019 at 9:20 am.
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Risk Management at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Scotland was first posted on August 10, 2019 at 9:21 am.

 

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