70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festival needs rethink following Brexit vote

The Animotion Show, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015. Picture; Douglas Robertson

The Animotion Show, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015. Picture; Douglas Robertson

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The director of the Edinburgh International Festival says he is having to rethink plans to mark the 70th anniversary of the event in the wake of the Brexit vote – to underline that its links with Europe are “as strong as ever”.

Fergus Linehan admitted the prospect of the UK leaving the EU had triggered a review of the 2017 programme and the Festival’s relationships with overseas venues, companies and events.

The Irishman said there was no intention of the EIF shedding its role as a European institution or narrowing its focus in the wake of the referendum result.

He pledged that the landmark event in 2017 would remain true to the origins of the Festival in the aftermath of the Second World War, when it was “part of the whole reconstruction of Europe”.

Mr Linehan said nex year’s anniversary programme would reflect the international status of Edinburgh and the “overwhelming” support for remaining in the EU in the city, insisting it would be impossible for the EIF to take a non-political stance.