Royal Highland Showcase was a real success

The Royal Highland Showcase drew to a close with organisers heralding the innovative hybrid event a resounding success.

Judging of more than 3000 cattle, goats, sheep and horses took place at the competitor-only event at the Royal Highland Centre, concluding seven days of livestreamed livestock judging, forestry, equestrian, sheep shearing, industry talks and Scottish produce championships.

It was designed to bridge the gap between a no-Royal Highland Show year in 2020 and the 180th Show taking place in June 2022 with early-bird tickets now on sale.

In partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, with funding of up to £750,00 from the Scottish Government, the event was livestreamed throughout the seven days watched by over 250,000 people from across 87 of countries – including Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, America, the Philippines and beyond.

With over two million engagements on social media, the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) are celebrating the outcome of a ‘monumental effort’ which resulted in the innovative concept being formulated, funded and delivered in less than 12 weeks.

RHASS Chairman Bill Gray said:  ‘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. Our aim was to connect and entertain our communities and, in the process, shine a light on our food producers, farmers and our way of life. We have achieved this with people from almost ninety countries across the globe tuning in, and with the content online for a further three months, there is even more of an opportunity to reach a wider audience.

‘There is no doubt that we will take this hybrid concept forward for future years and in doing so we will achieve greater exposure for our sector, our sponsors and our members. 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.’

Adding to Bill’s comment, Alan Laidlaw, RHASS Chief Executive said:   ‘We anticipate that this will continue to grow as word of mouth spreads and more people from across the globe log on to to view the content. This will give further exposure of our industry at a crucial time for the sector and reinforces the influence and impact of what has been achieved with this hybrid event.’

Rural Affairs secretary Mairi Gougoen 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. I look forward to seeing the long-term benefits from the £750,000 of the Scottish Government funding and seeing how we can continue showing people the best of Scotland’s animals and produce.’

Paul Bush, OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events added:  ‘Covid-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for the events sector over the last year, forcing many event organisers to look at different ways to connect and engage with new and established audiences.

‘The re-imagined 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.’

Malcolm Buchanan, chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: ‘The Royal Highland Show is one of the longest continuous partnerships in Royal Bank of Scotland’s history, and this year, as the Royal Highland Showcase, it illustrated what can be achieved and what challenges can be overcome through working together.

  ‘We have worked with the RHASS since 1981 and this year’s reimagined hybrid event has brought together the very best of what Scotland has to offer and through digital and fintech channels and technology, helped it reach audiences on a global scale.’