Tuesday 9 December 2014

In Praise of Recognising and Rectifying a Mistake

Just under a month ago, the Edinburgh International Festival announced new booking arrangements for Festival 2015. First, that the programme would be released in two segments - concerts and recitals on 3rd February and the rest of the programme on 18th March. Second, that booking for the Festival would be similarly split. Here at Where's Runnicles we have long urged a return to earlier publication of information about the Festival programme (as used to occur during the McMaster era), so announcement of such earlier publication was very welcome. However, we were strongly opposed to the proposed staggering of booking which seemed to us to make more difficult rather than simplifying Festival planning (today's announcement suggests we were not alone). Personally as someone who travels some distance to attend the Festival, and whose Festival booking is a complex jigsaw trying to fit in concerts, staged opera, theatre and if I can find space a bit of dance I was especially concerned that the new arrangements would make much harder my kind of Festival. We raised these issues with the Festival via a number of avenues.

The Festival assured us that it was listening to concerns. In today's world, however, one does become cynical about that kind of statement. I was therefore both delighted and surprised to receive Fergus Linehan's announcement this evening that booking arrangements have been revised. Concerts and recitals will still be announced in February, but booking for them will not open until after the full programme has been released on 18th March.

We live in a society where organisations often seem reluctant either to admit they have made a mistake or to take meaningful action to remedy it. It therefore seemed important to publicly thank Fergus Linehan and the International Festival for responding so constructively on this issue. Personally, it's a relief that an obstacle to my Festival planning that I really wasn't looking forward to negotiating has been removed. Instead, I now look forward keenly to finding out what artistic riches the Festival has planned for 2015, and catching as many of them as possible.


Martin Locher said...

Hello Finn,

I saw your original complaint on twitter and thought you were spot on, but didn't have the time to get involved at that time.

I am very surprised to see the EIF not only listened to the concern, but actually corrected their oversight. It takes courage to admit to mistakes and an open mind to actually change a newly implemented policy. Very glad to see both skills are well present within the EIF.

I can only thank you and the others who spoke up and the EIF for making the right call. Well done!

A good end to 2014 to have read this blog entry. Wish you great success in 2015 and inspiring festival visits.


Finn Pollard said...

Hi Martin,

Thanks for your kind words. We really don't claim credit on this - I'm sure what persuaded EIF to change course was the volume of feedback from supporters across the board - but it was excellent that they did.

Hope you have a great 2015.


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