Edinburgh Festival seeks new director

Edinburgh Festival seeks new director

News

norman lebrecht

July 21, 2021

It has been made known that Fergus Linehan will stage his last festival next year. His eigt years in charge have halted a 21st century spiral of decline and restored the festival as an international destination.

Who’s next?

I suspect they’ll want a Scot.

Linehan, an Irishman, was recruited from Australia.

Comments

  • Rupert Christiansen says:

    He has done an excellent job, latterly in impossible circumstances, and will be hard to replace. A nice, straightforward, unpretentious guy

    • Patrick John Gordon Shaw says:

      EXACTLY, Rupert!
      It will however be excellent to see ticket prices come down once the usual Venues are again in use.

    • Gregor Tassie says:

      Nice, straightforward, unpretentious guys don’t make good festival directors, sorry

  • Maria says:

    They’ll have anyone as long as they’re not English! LOL

    • Patrick John Gordon Shaw says:

      Rubbish! They will choose the BEST Person qualified for the job ~ regardless of nationality!

    • Ian J. Munro says:

      Maria, the Edinburgh Festivals were originally conceived as a mechanism to unite the world after the devastation of the 2nd World War. The festival has always retained its spirit of inclusivity not just in terms of the artists who perform there annually but its staff. There is no “anti-English” rhetoric here, and certainly not at the EIF. Fergus Linehan has done great work as festival director, whoever takes over from him will have big shoes to fill. The festival, hopefully will apppoint the right person to lead the festival and tbeir nationality will play no part in determining their suitability for the post. However, your comment also would suggest that there is an anti-English feeling in Scotland. Whilst a mindless few do spread that rhetoric they are in a minority and their views are not shared by everyone here.

  • Gregor Tassie says:

    Mr Linehan’s weakness was a lack of knowledge of the core repertoire for classical music, his tenure was fortunate in that he inherited some of the forward programming of his predecessor, notably the Ring cycle at the Usher Hall. His biggest mistake was the wasteful lighting up of public buildings as some sort of light show, and spending public money on pop and rock music concerts.

    • edinalex says:

      Curmudgeon. The free opening events have been hugely popular with the local population (who are after all footing a lot the bill). The popular music stuff has brought a new audience (the concerts mostly present artists/repetoire that wouldn’t be seen commercially). The previous director didn’t programme that far in advance. He, unlike you, realised that the EIF would stagnate and wither without change. I’ve gone to more classical music at The Usher Hall during his tenure than any other director and enjoyed the “new” events.

      • Gregor Tassie says:

        The ‘free opening events’ as you describe them were badly organized and hindered anyone who wanted to access public transport after a concert or show. Actually the previous director did programme in the future, almost all singers and ensembles are booked 2/3 years in advance. The reputation of EIF was based on innovative programming and hiring top class artists. I have been going to EIF for more than fifty years and yes there have been ups and downs, but I fancy the present incumbent has been out of his depth throughout. Whoever is appointed will be an improvement.

        • edinalex says:

          I was at all of the free opening events and totally disagree with you assertions. The concert at the Hearts ground – nowhere near concert venues neither is St Andrews Sq. The one at The Usher Hall took place well after concert end. You really are talking nonsense. I didn’t say the previous director didn’t programme in advance just not 7 years.Obvioulsy people will have different opinions. I thought the previous director was odious.Linehan – out of his depth, not in my opinion.

          • Gregor Tassie says:

            One of the stupidest things that Mr Linehan did was to open the 2019 EIF at Tynecastle, a football venue that has seen black players abused by bananas thrown at them, and sectarian songs shouted. He obviously doesn’t know about the terribly divisive sectarian culture existing in Scotland. And to put one of the world’s best orchestras to play there was complete shambles, and dishonoured a great conductor and orchestra. If you didn’t like the previous director that’s fine, but to lower the standards as the present incumbent has is not the way to go in Edinburgh, once applauded as the world’s greatest arts festival. I sometimes wonder if Mr Linehan mixed up his job application for the Edinburgh Fringe….

          • edinalex says:

            Now you are getting ridiculous. The event at the Hearts stadium was joyous, wonderfully received, enjoyed by a very broad audience. Now, given your comments, you must have chosen not to go so how would you know?

          • edinalex says:

            Just a few more thoughts. I went to the concert with lots of Hits supporting friends, one of whom is black.Afterwards, I had a chat with the concert master, who said how much they had enjoyed doing the concert, the conductor spoke warmly several times during the concert. They wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t want to. So please get off your high dudgeon horse called Snobbery.

          • Gregor Tassie says:

            I am sorry but we can do without insults of snobbery, I am from a working-class family and was brought up to respect people with different views from my own. I appreciate the different levels of culture at the EIF and the Fringe however I am afraid that Mr Linehan was not the best man for the job. In regard to the concert at Tynecastle, I doubt very much if the orchestra would have agreed to play there if they knew of its history of violence and sectarianism. Of course, the concertmaster was well paid to play there and am sure he didn’t have a clue about where he was playing.

  • Hugh Kerr says:

    Well a Scot might be a good idea as they have never had one before in the 75 years of the Festival! Of course the Festival is international but part of its job is to show the best of Scottish culture to the world so it would be nice to find someone who knew about Scottish culture as well as other things. Fergus has done a good job in difficult times with budget cuts and Covid. Certainly he was much better than the previous director Mills who Norman Lebrecht correctly pointed out when we was appointed that “ he wasn’t up to the job”! I have criticised Fergus for the lack of opera in the Festival ( apart from the 70th anniversary year) but I know opera is expensive Maybe Norman could apply?!

  • MOST READ TODAY: