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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 15:19 GMT
Festival's cash crisis is averted
Edinburgh Festival Theatre
The festival's 600,000 funding crisis has been averted
A cash crisis hanging over the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) has been averted.

Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Executive have agreed to pay 600,000 in emergency funding to make sure this year's programme goes ahead.

Organisers warned on Tuesday that they might have to scale back the event unless the extra money was forthcoming.

The cash boost from the public purse comes on top of existing government grants totalling 1.5m.

However, the politicians only agreed to give the money after insisting that the organisers must justify the additional sum by producing an accessible programme with an excellent line-up.

EventScotland is the executive quango which assists major events like the EIF and it said it would provide 300,000 if the council matched the amount.

I'm pleased we have got agreement on the way ahead and secured the continued success of one of the world's leading events.
Donald Anderson
Edinburgh City Council

Edinburgh councillors made the decision after meeting Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson on Wednesday.

The local politicians had earlier expressed dismay at the late notification they had received about the funding crisis and said they had made that point clear to the festival's organisers.

Council leader Donald Anderson said: "I'm pleased we have got agreement on the way ahead and secured the continued success of one of the world's leading events.

"The 300,000 grant from the council, and EventScotland funding, will ensure the festival can put on an event of which the city and the country can be proud.

"We've agreed a number of developments in the operation of the festival and made it clear that we deeply regret the way that the funding bid has been made."

Ms Ferguson added: "I confirmed to festival representatives that EventScotland will fund development of this year's festival programme to the tune of a further 300,000.

"I stressed that as a condition of our assistance, as many Scottish people as possible have the opportunity to experience the festival.

Programme launch

"I want it to show that the best artistic performers in Scotland can, and do, match the best in the world."

The festival's programme is due to be launched on 17 March, with events running from 14 August to 4 September.

A report prepared for councillors said that the EIF had prepared a "full, but by no means extravagant, programme" for this summer.

It said that while ticket prices had increased in line with inflation, the price of staging productions had risen much faster.

The extra funding would be primarily used for artistic productions, venues and technical support but some of the cash would improve marketing to attract new customers or target existing ones.

Edinburgh festival in cash crisis
15 Feb 05 |  Scotland

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