Uncertainty around Brexit has prompted performers at the Edinburgh International Festival to ask for their fees to be paid in euros or US dollars instead of sterling, the event’s director has revealed.
Fergus Linehan said that the volatile pound had forced the festival’s organisers to turn to ‘currency hedging’ – whereby a currency is locked into a certain exchange rate – at the end of last year.
He said that the UK’s impending exit from the European Union meant that many of the artists engaged for this year’s festival, which began last weekend, had requested to be paid in euros or dollars.
This year, nearly 3,000 performers will take part in EIF, hailing from 41 countries including Australia, Nigeria, China, Germany, Holland and India.
Linehan told the Times that he believed he would not have been able to secure his present line-up if he had agreed only to pay performers in sterling.
“We’d definitely have people say they just weren’t coming,” he said.
“This is really hard on us because all our ticket sales are in pounds, all our funding is in pounds, most of our donations are in pounds. So it is a pain.”
He added that EIF “would be in a very bad way now” if it had not hedged about £1 million several months ago, with an increasingly weak pound.
Last month, the pound fell to its lowest value since 2017, and became the world’s worst performing currency. It is currently trading at $1.21, or €1.09.