Welcome to Edinburgh 2020 — be it from your homes, your cars, or under your favourite tree in the garden.

Normally this time of year we would be looking forward to seeing our friends and partners in Scotland, sharing stories and laughs in the hallway between sessions. As we all know, nothing about 2020 is normal. As a company who loves and celebrates digital experience, we at YouTube must also admit nothing replaces being in-person, and we sorely miss seeing you all to share in your triumphs, learn from our shared challenges, and enjoy these experiences together.

Despite the hurdles this year has brought, YouTube is delighted that the festival is going forward because despite our physical separation, the need to hear from one another and continue to learn is more important than ever. We are proud to bring this important event to life digitally and to once again serve as sponsor to the Edinburgh TV Festival.

We feel the digital world has an important role to play in British society, both to help people and communities connect, but also to help propel our creative economy forward. From every corner of the UK, 2020 has shown us what amazing creativity, joy and passion can be shared with the world in these most trying of times. We have seen British creative talent turn to YouTube to connect, educate, fundraise, and entertain in the face of enormous hardships.

Alex Horne, the creator and star of Taskmaster, responded to pleas from friends to think of ways to entertain their children during lockdown and created Hometasking on the Taskmaster YouTube channel to the delight of millions stuck at home. Maddie Moate and Greg Foot lent a helping hand to those parents suddenly facing the daunting task of homeschooling with daily science and discovery videos, Let’s Go Live, streaming live every weekday from their spare bedroom with a few DSLR cameras to YouTube. Joe Wicks helped keep the nation’s families fit with the biggest P.E. lessons, while the National Theatre reached into their archive to make some of their most iconic productions available every Thursday night for the world to gather together and for a few hours remember the power of great British theatre.

While we may not be sharing the same physical space this year, our shared passions remain: a love of British creativity, talent and content. YouTube is proud to be a part of the fabric of the UK’s creative industry and looks forward to helping unique, authentic, diverse talent break onto the global mainstage, keeping Britain where it belongs: on the cutting edge of culture and entertainment.

Thanks so much and enjoy the Festival!

Ben McOwen Wilson, Managing Director, YouTube UK