Royal Highland Showcase – A celebration of the best of farming, food and rural life
The Royal Highland Showcase – seven days of livestreamed livestock judging, forestry, equestrian, sheep shearing, industry talks and Scottish produce championships – was, by every measure, an outstanding success.
Judging of over 3000 cattle, goats, sheep and horses took place at the competitor-only which was designed by the RHASS team to bridge the gap between a no-Royal Highland show year in 2020 and the 180th Show which will take place in June 2022.
In partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, with funding of up to £750,00 from the Scottish Government, the event was live streamed throughout the seven days with 252 of hours of live content and a further thirty hours of on-demand programming produced, all watched by 270,000 people from across 87 countries – including Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, America, Argentina, the Philippines and beyond.
With over two million engagements on social media, the innovative concept was formulated, funded and delivered in less than 12 weeks.
Bill Gray explained the rational for holding the event: “Our members have supported us during some really tough times and wanted to give something back, which we did by hosting showcase. While it was not QUITE like being there in the flesh, we did everything possible to take our viewers as close as possible to the action, and the feedback has been tremendous.
Furthermore, we wanted to ensure RHASS continued to support our charitable aims and showcase was an important way of achieving this in lockdown by connecting and entertaining our communities and, in the process, shine a light on our food producers, farmers and our way of life.
“When we reimagined a hybrid, Royal Highland Show we couldn’t have believed it would have had such a monumental impact on so many people from right across the globe”
Speaking about the legacy for future years, Bill added:
“This investment has allowed us to set up the most up to date streaming technology such as that used by SFA and to bring on board the most experienced production teams to do justice to what is the jewel in the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society’s crown, the Royal Highland Show.
“It is important to note however, that this investment will bring benefits beyond this year’s event. With the funding, we’ve upgraded our IT infrastructure and improved our website, and this will help ensure a bright future for the Royal Highland Show as well as attracting high calibre events to the Royal Highland Centre.
This funding sets us up for the future as we work to shore up the Society’s finances following such a difficult period in our history.”
Alan Laidlaw, RHASS Chief Executive paid tribute to the team on the ground who brought the event from concept to reality.
Alan said: I couldn’t be prouder of our team of Directors, staff, contractors and volunteers who have left no stone unturned to make this Royal Highland Showcase dream a reality. It’s important to our rural community that we were able to come together after such a long absence and it was an incredible opportunity to shine a light on our vibrant agricultural sector, not only to our regular showgoers, but also new visitors who who’ve never experienced the show before.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougoen attended the event added her congratulations to the RHASS team.
She said: “The Royal Highland Showcase marks a step change for the Royal Highland Show and Scottish agriculture. Through the new website and online videos, people, farms and businesses across the world were able to experience Scottish agriculture and food & drink.
“I’m so pleased to have been able to see some of the Royal Highland Showcase in person and see the hard work that went into preparing this event and opening it up to a global audience.“
Meanwhile, Paul Bush, OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events added: “The Royal Highland Showcase 2021 had innovation, diversification and community spirit at its very heart this year. Offering a range of memorable online experiences and insight for audiences tuning in, this year’s hybrid event was able to successfully pivot, providing a wonderful digital interpretation of one of Scotland’s much-loved major events.”
Highlights from Showcase can be accessed by visiting www.royalhighlandshowcase.org.