BP ends Edinburgh Festival sponsorship

Written by Tom Freeman on 7 April 2016 in News

Edinburgh International Festival's relationship with fossil fuel funding ended, as Environmental campaigners celebrate

BP has ended its 34-year sponsorship of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), according to the festival organisers.

The festival announced on twitter that the oil giant would not be renewing its relationship with the festival ahead of the programme launch last night at the Usher Hall.

BP said the company itself had made the decision not to renew. “In what is an extremely challenging business environment, we are reducing spending and taking many difficult decisions across BP,” it said in a statement.


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An EIF statement said: “BP has not renewed its support of the international festival this year. We are grateful to them for their long-term support of the festival, but all sponsorship arrangements end eventually.”

The EIF is one of a number of arts institutions which has come under pressure from campaigners to divest from fossil fuels. Last year’s festival saw two creative protests against BP during the festival, once outside Usher Hall and one in the Hub, the EIF’s headquarters, and a petition of the festival’s director Fergus Linehan.

One of the protestors was Daniel Bye, whose show won a Fringe First award last year.

“Whether or not it's down to the vociferous campaigns, I'm delighted that EIF have ended their association with massive corporate criminal BP.

“I look forward to the day when arts organisations gladhanding big oil looks as freakishly untenable as tobacco or arms sponsorship. This takes us one step closer,” he said.

Ric Lander from Friends of the Earth Scotland said the EIF should be congratulated for “freeing itself” from fossil fuel sponsorship.

“We know that most fossil fuels reserves must be kept in the ground if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We need to urgently move away from extracting and burning fossil fuels and companies like BP who continue to profit from the destruction of our environment have no place in our treasured cultural events or institutions.”

Last month BP also withdrew from another long-standing sponsorship of Tate.

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