Mills criticises media ‘laziness’ over EIF and Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Natalie Woolman

Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills has criticised media “laziness” for the public being confused about the difference between EIF and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which run alongside one another every August.

Speaking to The Stage, he said: “A lot of people are confused because [the media does not] help us articulate to the extent that [it] ought to the differences between these festivals.

“In many other countries, anything as varied and as popular in every part of it, let alone its collective part, would be a cause for national jubilation.”

Edinburgh hosts seven festivals in August, including the Book and Jazz and Blues festivals as well as EIF and the Fringe.

Mills said the press “don’t speak clearly and passionately and articulately enough about the different parts of Edinburgh’s festivals”, adding that the media in general is “very lazy” in terms of how it speaks about the festivals.

He said that the EIF, which will stage the premiere of the National Theatre of Scotland’s new piece Caledonia this summer, had a “symbiotic” relationship with the other festivals in Edinburgh including the Fringe. He added that it was all the festivals together that created August’s “extraordinary exuberance”.

The director commented: “I don’t measure myself exclusively in a relationship to one festival, I measure myself or I think about how I exist in this city in relationship to a much broader range of festivals.”

This year’s EIF will run from August 13 to September 5. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from August 6 to 30. Both festivals have been running since 1947.

Mills succeeded Brian McMaster as festival director in 2006. His previous posts included artistic director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

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