Underbelly expands into Edinburgh winter events

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Underbelly Ltd, the company behind the Edinburgh fringe venue and London Southbank Udderbelly festival, is set to revamp Edinburgh's winter festivals.

A consortium formed by Underbelly and Edinburgh-based Unique Events has been announced as the preferred bidder for a contract worth £1.29m a year over the next three years to run the winter and Hogmanay festivals. The bid still has to be confirmed at next week's Edinburgh council finance and budget committee.

According to a statement from the consortium: "If confirmed, the combined programme will create the largest winter season that Edinburgh has ever seen. At its heart will lie the world famous Hogmanay and a totally re-imagined programme of Christmas events and attractions. Full details of these plans will be announced in due course."

According to a statement from Edinburgh council, the contract offers management autonomy and an opportunity to review the attractions, events and festival. It also transfers all financial responsibility and risk to the contractor. It will run for a period of three years with an option to extend by up to a further two.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Unique Events on this very exciting project. Underbelly is born and bred Edinburgh and we’re looking forward to developing our relationship with the city by co-producing Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Christmas. We truly believe that, with Unique Events, we can make Edinburgh’s combined winter season the envy of the world.”

Unique Events has been running Edinburgh's Hogmanay since its inception 20 years ago. Edinburgh's Christmas festival was run independently from the Hogmanay festivities until 2012, most recently by Durham-based company She's Gott It Events.