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The Hot Scots Power 40: Pete Irvine, Unique Events, Scotland the Best

21 February 2013
The Hot Scots Power 40: Pete Irvine, Unique Events, Scotland the Best

Rating: 5

Pete Irvine - Snapshot

Pete Irvine is a creative force in several key areas of the Scottish hospitality industry.

He is the managing director of Unique Events, which produces most of the main public events in and around Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole. As such, he is artistic director of Edinburgh's Hogmanay and the Glasgow Art Fair and over the years has overseen significant events and festivals including the Burns an' a' that! Festival, the Highland 2007 main event programme and the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Wearing his other hat, he is the author of Scotland the Best, Scotland's best-selling independent guide. Scotland the Best is published every two years and is Britain's best-selling independent guide for any country, including any London guides.

Known as "the bible", it lists more than 1,500 places to eat, drink and stay. Every two years, Irvine revisits at least 80% of the venues. The book has no subscriptions or sponsors and Irvine has been called the most travelled and most conscientious "Inspector".

Pete Irvine's background is unusual for someone being hailed as a leading light of the hospitality industry. Back in the 1980s, he was one of Scotland's major music promoters for artists such as U2 and Frank Sinatra, and events such as the first open-air festival in Scotland.

His events and festival company Unique Events was launched following his involvement in The Big Day - the main event at Glasgow 1990 European City of Culture.

Since its inception in 1993, Unique has created, produced and managed Edinburgh's Hogmanay, building it into the highly regarded international festival it has become over the past 20 years.

The company is also responsible for opening events around the opening of Harvey Nichols and the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Highland Year of Culture, including the Outsider Festival.

Irvine was the event consultant to the Scottish Football Association (SFA) for the UEFA Championships at Hampden, to the Ryder Cup Bid Committee and to the Scottish Executive for the Opening of the new Scottish Parliament in 1999.

In 2012, under Irvine's direction, Unique Events produced the launch of the Cultural Olympiad/the London 2012 Festival: the Big Concert in Stirling on 21 June.

In 1993, Irvine launched his best-selling Scottish guide book, Scotland the Best, which is now inits 11th edition. He is a regular columnist for a number of the national newspapers, including the Sunday Times, the Sunday Mail, the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.

Pete Irvine - What we think

Pete Irvine has channelled his creative talents into taking Scotland out of the backwaters and making it a vibrant, exciting destination as well as highlighting its natural beauty and the best of its hospitality.

About 100,000 people take to the streets during the Hogmanay event every year.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed, and he was awarded the Scottish Tourist Board's outstanding achievement award for 2000 (the Silver Thistle), received an MBE for services to the City of Edinburgh in 2001 and an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University in 2008.

Scotland the Best continues to be the best-selling independent guide to Scotland, with 250,000 copies sold and critics comments, such as: "Makes other guides to Scotland redundant" (SundayTimes), or "Infallible and quite brilliant" (Daily Telegraph).

Fortunately, Irvine does not rest on his laurels and has an ongoing engagement with and commitment to Scottish affairs, the media and the cultural community.

Unique Events website >>

Scotland the Best 2012 launch >>

Future Perfect >>

Fury at Callander Insult >>

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