Episode 6 of ‘Tea and Talk’ features Fergus Linehan, Festival Director and CEO of Edinburgh International Festival. Fergus chats to us about the impact Covid-19 has had on arts and culture, how the way we have consumed the arts has changed, and what roads to recovery for venues and festivals are possible.

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Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the RSEs Tea&Talk  podcast series. A program inspired by the coffee houses of the 18th century, where great thinkers would come together to discuss ideas and matters of the day. Im Rebekah Widdowfield and I’m Chief Executive of the RSE, which is  the Royal Society of Edinburgh. And is Scotland’s national Academy.

Our mission is to advance learning and make knowledge useful. And as part of that, I’m having series of conversations with some of Scotland’s leading authorities on a whole range of topics, starting with explore different perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic. The conversations are all with fellows of the RSE who are keen to share their expertise and experience.

This week, I’m speaking about the impact of COVID-19 on culture in the creative arts with Fergus Linehan director of Edinburgh international festival. So we’re not in a coffee house. We both in our own homes, which explains the occasional dips in sound quality. But I like to encourage you to grab yourself a drink of something, [00:01:00] sit back and listen to one of Scotland’s leading experts.

Talk about things that matter.

Culture is often viewed as a luxury and a nice to have yet during lockdown, it could be argued that the arts have assumed a much greater importance to people and in their lives, whereas our diversion and less support for mental health or helping kids with their homeschooling. Do you feel COVID has impacted on how culture is perceived in Scotland?

Fergus Linehan: [00:01:34] I think, yeah. I mean, there are so many areas where culture does impact on people. I think, as you say. In terms of mental health then in terms of social cohesion, but also particularly the economy. And that’s something I think we’re really seeing at the moment in Edinburgh in particular. So there are all of these different elements and I do think it’s having a big effect.

I think it’s having a positive effect on people. I think people are also listening to a lot of music. There might [00:02:00] be watching a lot of things on TV or online. So it’s, it’s a constellation for people at the moment. And I think people are maybe thinking about it a little bit more, not just in terms of what’s on a stage or on a platform, but also the social dimension to it.

I think that’s particularly acute for young people. I think that they identify around certain ideas, either music or various other art forms. And I think that that kind of social dimension to this, or indeed R and D to older people, I think this is really where a lot of their social contact comes from.

So for me, what has been very difficult, it has also brought home the importance of culture. In, in all sorts of ways. It’s kind of, I suppose, it’s, it’s a bit like when it’s taken away, people really notice not just the, sort of the relational side of it, but also all of the different byproducts that come from.

And I,

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:02:56] I think there has been for some time actually a, quite a recognition of the [00:03:00] importance of culture, but there is a feeling I know in some quarters of that recognition of the value and the importance of culture isn’t necessarily always followed up. With the sort of recognition in terms of practical support.

And I guess when you’re having to make the case for funding against what might seem more sort of frontline or essential services and areas like how for addressing poverty, I mean, that must be really hard to make the case for culture in that context. So how’d you go about making the case for culture?

Fergus Linehan: [00:03:25] I mean, that’s, I’ve been specifically in relation to public funding, but I do think the case sure, in and of itself is being made by the fact that people miss it so much.

I mean, those are very real requirements at an economic level at the moment, because we’re going to have to restart the economy and we’re going to have to restart it quickly. And you come back to 1947, which is when the festivals began. And that was at a time when the second world war just happened, the public finances were in ruins.

And what was required was something that would bring some sense of joy and sense of community and [00:04:00] begin to kick start the economy again. So I think there’s going to be of course, an enormous requirement for us to invest in frontline services, but we do have to get life back again. And, you know, I think about.

People who are maybe singing the festival chorus or are part of a local theater group or whatever else. I mean, this is what they’ve lost. This is what they’re craving. This is where people really want to see that that world’s reignited. So even though there’s a very real crisis in relation to finances in cultural institutions, I think that the actual kind of need and desire for culture is going to be more powerful than ever as we come back.

When people need a minute. I think, I think that that will translate into, into public funding perhaps in different ways. Perhaps it’s some different priorities, but nonetheless, I think it’s going to be urgent. So I think, I hope that people feel it.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:04:56] I mean, it’s interesting. You talk about this sort of post-war context is that, [00:05:00] I mean, I was reading the other day that after the depression in the States and as part of the Roosevelt’s new deal, there was funding for federal grants programs for writers and artists.

And could you see something like that happening here?

Fergus Linehan: [00:05:11] Yeah, I could. I mean, there’s two quite different things at play. One is the need for culture to be supported and parts, not a whole culture. And lots of us exists commercially and doesn’t need support. And I’ve, I’ve worked in those areas as well, but a lot of areas for it to exist and particularly for it to have the widest possible accessibility needs that.

But I think there’s two separate things. I think there’s just the requirements or culture. But then there’s also just the particularities of this crisis, which means that mass gatherings are a problem. It’s a technical problem. And it’s interesting because we’re now in the performing arts, we find ourselves in alliances with football clubs and conference centers, and even, even kind of, you know, religions that require people to gather [00:06:00] together.

And, um, in a way maybe that’s a, a better definition of culture. It’s a wider definition of culture, which is the need for people to come together around some kinds of shared purpose, but the particularities of this, and we’re coming to a fork in the road, I think where both the income support scheme ends and people start going back to their industries.

Whereas those of us in these particular worlds that require people to gather together, aren’t going to be able to go back and that’s what needs urgent support. And that’s not exceptionalism based upon the importance of closure and people’s lives. That’s exceptionalism just based upon the technicalities of this crisis, which has shut down a particular industry.

And so I think that’s, that’s really where the focus has to go now, because one of the big, the concerns is, you know, this ends come August 21, we’re ready to go with the festivals and we just have kind of a scorched earth of, of venues and companies. And so that we don’t come out to this quickly. I think that’s where, [00:07:00] where the of government needs to be.

It’s just to make sure that we don’t lose. The whole systematic kind of world through which all of this happens. So that’s, that’s a very different type of funding. And I do think that that needs, and I hope will be addressed urgency by, by all arms of government.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:07:19] And it’s interesting in terms of, you know, what, what’s their sort of post COVID, if you’d like.

I mean, it seems to be in quite a lot of focus as well in terms of what remains at a regional level, through some of the national companies and organizations where they can rely on, on state funding. But the others who are more, maybe more dependent on earned income or private income, having some particular challenges.

I mean, what do you, what are you seeing that encourages you? It sort of across the country in terms of what regional theaters and other organizations are doing.

Fergus Linehan: [00:07:46] Yeah, I mean, and this, again comes back to just the difference with this is that it’s not just the normal organizations that are funding. There are actually organizations which are ultimately commercial, but they have been hit very particularly biased.

And it’s [00:08:00] very much building based organizations, anyone with a large turnover and a large fixed overhead who are very dependent on ticket sales and income or that sort of thing. They have been absolutely. Annihilate it’s in a way, so yeah, it’s quite different to usual cultural policy. It’s more a kind of a, an economic issue.

I think that regionally, I think one of the things that’s been good about this is it’s brought a lot of people gather. Alliances of have to be formed. And, um, I think some, some good things will, will come off the bat. I mean, but I, there’s no point in being too Pollyanna about this, it is just a really, really difficult situation for most of those organizations financially.

I think the, what will be key over the next 12 months is going to be just how the timing on this goes. So. How people will come back when they will [00:09:00] come back, who of their existing audience will come back and these will be defining characteristics. We are, we are kind of resilient industry and we’ve been through things before.

And so if things can get moving early next year, that’s going to be very different to if we’re still here and the end of 21. So I think that, um, I would love to say that I can think of lots of. Positive, thanks for coming out of this at the moment, but I think I’d be being very unfair to all of the people around the country or just dealing with the most critical of situations.

I suppose. I do. I do believe that people have noticed it’s been interesting to see how people have really. Come to the good, they started advocating for their local arts organizations. And then just as you’re saying about frontline and other asks for people who’ve really gone out, we don’t want to lose.

I mean, we don’t want to lose our libraries and our local theaters and our concert halls. And. That has [00:10:00] not fallen by the wayside. It’s been something I think that is keenly felt by communities across the country.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:10:07] Just seem to have some parallels with that. You know, people who’ve now become key workers and essential workers in the way they might not have been talked about in that way before.

And similarly with culture, things seem more essential services and they might have been described in the past. I guess one of the things that from a lay person’s point of view is what I’ve been seeing is some incredible creativity amongst cultural organizations in terms of either the way they’re doing productions or the spaces that they’re using.

Obviously a great, more use of thing, doing things online and exploring back catalogs, people coming together online. Do you think this is the start of a long lasting change? Or is it a temporary blip? Where do you see culture sort of going over the coming sort of mumps and year?

Fergus Linehan: [00:10:45] Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the, the most positive things to come out of this, which is that I think everyone, lots of people have been doing lots of things online before, and it’s not even that people have been putting things up for the first time.

It’s more that the audiences are coming to us. So we’re getting a much clearer [00:11:00] idea of what works and what doesn’t and how things should be presented. And I think this, it doesn’t work for everything. It works for some things much better than others, but I think the, what you’re going to see is a kind of a parallel where organizations that perhaps didn’t have a big online presence in the past, we’ll have one that running alongside their kind of live offering, which is really important because, you know, prior to this all happening, what we were all talking about was environmental impact.

And as an industry, the difficulties that we have with the environmental impact and the fact that we are a very mobile industry with people, touring large groups of people by air freight. And we really needed to address that. I think that both in terms of the way we operate, we realize we probably don’t need to travel as much as we were.

And in terms of just what we might be able to do that could be done in a broadcast online sense, and maybe giving people the [00:12:00] understanding that they can’t do it. Maybe people felt that they could, you know, some of what’s been really great. Hasn’t been the high production stuff. It’s been very, very simple.

And so kind of, I think, I think there’s something in this sort of, which will feed into our own conversations about sustainability after the crisis.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:12:18] And where do you see the EIF going in that sense? I mean, do you see a, sort of more international broadcasting of concerts then maybe people coming over in physical terms?

Fergus Linehan: [00:12:27] I mean, I think that there’s, there’s a few things in it. I mean, there’s this sort of an operational side to us for us, which is, you know, I mean, there is, there is a time when you do need to go and you need to see work and you need to spend time with people. But like a lot of industries, I think we’re finding that, Oh gosh, we can still do this, but we can do this in a different way.

And even if recordings are done at a much higher level, it may be that you don’t necessarily need to go and see them. You could because they’re now of a level that you can make that call. But I do think that we will not so much trying to replace a live performance with [00:13:00] an online performance, but if someone is coming to Edinburgh, I do believe that we will work a lot harder to make sure that there’s a lot more capture and broadcast on online of what they’re doing.

And you would hope that maybe that can create, uh, an offering, which might be around Scotland. There’s any rage. We still do want people to come and experience the festival and, you know, part of the festivals, the performance, but a huge part of it is the gathering as well. So I think, I think that that’s something that, that we’re certainly developing and I can see an awful lot more organizations developing over time.

And even, even down to things like for smaller pieces where you have chorionic refers, actually choreographic works on zoom or on Skype, just little things where we begin to realize, I realize that it’s not always necessary to jump on a plane there’s ways in which we can work together, because I think that was and remains probably the most urgent issue of our time.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:13:57] I mean, no one would obviously want a global pandemic, but [00:14:00] does that make it easier in terms of when you’re engaging with your international partners and colleagues that they’re in a similar or many of them will be in a not dissimilar situation. So are similarly receptive to sort of thinking quite critically and creatively about how things are done.

Fergus Linehan: [00:14:14] Yeah, I think so. I think it is. I mean, you know, before this happened, we were here having the conversation about if someone was going to tour from the U S to the UK, if you go back 50 years, that was a very big deal. They do us, but they would come and they would stay perhaps in London for two weeks and maybe come to Edinburgh for two weeks and they would have, uh, eight or 10 performances in both.

And, you know, it would take a long time to get there. It would take a long time to get home. So I think that in a sense that we’ve got to start thinking, well, maybe to be quarantines in place, all of these things who knows. So in a sense that come down and cause as accelerated the conversation, now you’re saying, well, maybe you’re not going to be able to come to Europe and play in 50 cities.

Or, you know, maybe you need to actually just play in two cities on [00:15:00] this tour. Maybe you need to just slow it down. And therefore, when you do visit a place, really need to think about the effect of what that visit is, and really need to think of it in terms of a performance. But you also need to think about the community where you are, perhaps you need a big digital elements to be able to come alongside us.

Perhaps it needs to be working in our festival music and chamber music and something else. So that was a conversation we were having, which suddenly feels much more reasonable. And it seems, it almost seems like response to that dynamic actually. But we were talking about someone referred to it as kind of slow programming, like the slow food movement.

You just try to do things in a more profound way. And when people do travel, you need to think about it in terms of it being a very special thing, as opposed to it being just a very regular thing. So, I mean, I do think that people will pause to think about going back to touring the way they were working at before, because I mean, [00:16:00] we were going to do it for environmental reasons, but because we all know that assuming there’s terrible assumption, but if there’s no vaccine.

At any moment in a tour, the rug can be called from under you. So you do not want what you really don’t want at the moment is a 50 city, fifties country tour coming up in 2021. So yeah, I think, I think it will, I think it will affect things a little bit like that. I think as well. The funny thing is if you go back 50 years again, and people went to their local orchestra and their theater company had a rocketry company and, you know, it was much more localized.

And that then became a sort of almost an old fashioned model and people wanted to go to Berlin for the weekend and then they wanted to come back and then they wanted the New York Phil to be in their city. And I think that’s been questioned a little too. Um, I think that we’re going to have to look at how we make work locally.

I mean, [00:17:00] ironically, that old fashioned model of having a repertory company and everyone lived within the city was probably the most environmentally sustainable Knotel you could imagine, but certainly, no, I think, I think that we’re very lucky in Scotland because we’ve got. We’ve got great companies. We’ve got a great range of national companies.

And then, you know, in classical music, we’ve you that go on with the Jani-King consorts, where you’ve got the Scottish and sambal everybody’s ensemble, great artists who live here like Cargill and Steven Osborne. So we do have a, kind of a rich group of artistry in the, in the country. And perhaps we’re going to lean into that a little bit more.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:17:39] So almost the domestic not replacing, but maybe sort of taking, taking over from some of the more international dimensions in terms of audience, do you think?

Fergus Linehan: [00:17:49] Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think certainly I think we can just, it would be reasonable to expect that international audiences are not going to be traveling in the way they were for a while.

[00:18:00] But, you know, I think it’s more that we just need slow down a little bit. I do believe internationalism incredibly important, but just maybe think a little bit more profoundly about why someone is coming to visit and what the footprint they leave behind is. So, so what effect it has on a community and say, if you go back and you think about something like the ballet, roosters tours throughout Europe and how it actually change places, if went and change people’s views of, of, of what they should be doing.

I do think that we’ll need to, to think a little bit there’s, it’s an opportunity in a sense to think about that. And I think it segues quite nicely into a discussion of sustainable international festivals and culture, Michael.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:18:51] I mean, it does sound that there is an opportunity here to sort of continue to build the audience and broaden the audience, that experience culturing and Scotland, and [00:19:00] obviously with more stuff being done digitally, I’m an appreciate what you say that was already quite a lot of stuff online, but we also know there is a remaining problem of digital poverty in Scotland and not everybody can access those opportunities.

Are there particular things that organizations like yours and other cultural organizations should be thinking about around how you operate in this sort of new world of, and put it in those terms in a way that doesn’t undermine previous efforts to diversify the audience, or indeed actually seeks opportunities to continue to diversify the audience.

Fergus Linehan: [00:19:28] Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s such a huge question and you’re right about the digital poverty and we’ve gotta be really careful about it because it’s not just about social exclusion. I think it’s also about there’s demographic issues, just in terms of age with us to sort of say, you’re going to. Put something up on zoom or something else means nothing to people of a particular age.

And, you know, we’ve had people saying, you know, yeah, we’d like to do that, but we don’t have, even if they have the technology, you know, they’ve got limits on their [00:20:00] plan. And you know, so I think that that’s, that’s a big question. I mean, I, I still feel that. Though that while we will come out the other side of this and in a sense, it’s a, it’s a real question for us to sort of say, what do we mean by our community, which is sometimes a complicated question for us at the festival because people look to us to have an international remission.

So you’re trying to think globally. And then you’re thinking about the UK and you’re thinking about Europe because we were very much a European institution. And then you think about Scotland and then you think about Edinburgh. And so the idea of who is your community is going to be quite sound. I think coming out the other end.

Yeah. We’re also gonna need a really strong sense of community. And I think if we come out the other side of this, um, there is a sense that we weren’t that’s, some [00:21:00] people were in it in a different way. It could be, it could be terribly despair missing because the thing about it that I think was quite uplifting in a way is we did all do it together.

No, and there’s very little that we all do together. We’ve all been through something collectively, hopefully for the common good. And when we come out, the other end of it, I think that people will, if particularly events that are, seem to have the possibility of a kind of a. The operation. I think that that’s got to be there at the most collective level.

And it would be, it would be a terrible thing if we can add the other end to this. And there’s a sense of celebration and people felt it was absolutely nothing to do with them because they went through everything that we went through. And so, yeah, I feel, I feel that there’s, it’s going to be more urgent than ever when they come out, but it’s not going to be easy.

Um, I mean, it’s, uh, it’s going to be. It’s going to be tough, but you know, people [00:22:00] still talk about 1947 about the first festival about things like the fact that the whole city was festooned in flowers after the second world war and how much that meant to them. But, you know, Edinburgh is a complicated city in terms of the division between wealth and poverty.

And that’s something that I think again, there’s, there’s an opportunity to think about it right now. And we really do need that. We need, we need a celebration that comes out the other side of this. That makes us think of ourselves as, as a, as a, as a really strong community and a really strong city.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:22:36] I mean, it’s interesting what you’re saying about the sort of city production flowers.

I mean, it does seem sort of using different a new spaces and public spaces for arts can be quite important in terms of exposing people who might not be comfortable or not thought about going to the theater or to the usher hall or to the Lyceum. Are you able to say, tell us a little bit about the light show you’ve got planned for next

Fergus Linehan: [00:22:56] year.

No, [00:23:00] that’s the quick answer because yeah. And we’re still trying to work to the information’s for us. I mean, what we’re trying to do is just to do something that’s a little bit of a surprise. It’s not really a light show per se, because we can do gatherings of people, but we do want to try and do something across places that are important to the festival just tomorrow, but we’re not actually allowed to say we’re going to do a performance at this particular time and everyone should gather.

It’s been really interesting because in the one hand, I think everyone’s very keen to do things and we’re trying to be as helpful as we can to the existing kind of arts companies. But it just changes week by week and the speed at which. People are comfortable with events of any sorts is different, you know, in England too, it isn’t Scotland.

And I think just recently the idea that maybe Scotland might be able to eradicate this in some shape or form has as added an extra [00:24:00] sense of urgency around, around us. So. We’re just still working out. What’s what’s going to be possible, but we’ve got a raise. We’ve got some really nice ideas we do as it is.

And we’ll just have to see if we can get the permissions to do it. The sense is that no, we just need to Batten down the hatches. That’s what we’ll do. And we’ll do it later, but we just have to be as flexible as, as we can.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:24:24] And there’s, I think there’s, again, some creativity around that. I mean, I watched a film the other day and, and the, the people were using the chat function and I would have hated to go to the cinema and watch a film when people be chatting.

But there was something about watching online on my own and knowing that other people were watching it at the same time and talking about it, that she was quite made. You feel like there was a bit more of a collective experience, even though I say I was sitting at my kitchen table

Fergus Linehan: [00:24:46] by myself. I think so.

I think there’s a real sense of importance of ritual, of answers as well for people. And, um, people sending down on a Sunday and gliding, born opera are putting up an opera online five o’clock and everyone sits [00:25:00] down and there’s an interrupt. And these are just, you know, six year old operators that have been up on YouTube.

And there’s nothing necessarily new about it. But there’s something about the idea, as you said, everyone’s sitting down and then being able to chat along the side and that way that’s where it comes back to. You know what I mean? Whether you’re a kind of a 14 year old kid who follows certain type of music, um, all the people around us are your kind of escape into another world, or whether you’re a member of a chorus and your rehearsals once a week, or once a fortnight.

Just have a, an enormously important part in your, in your own sense of yourself and who you are when you do. We do identify who we believe. What’s important to us. What we believe is important to us, through our kind of cultural choices, and that has been sort of taken away from us and that can be following a football team, or it can be a whole range of things.

But I, I, I, I think there’s an enormous amount of. I [00:26:00] dunno. I think, I think that we just need to be very careful as we come out of this because I think people are in a very delicate, emotional state. And certainly that’s my experience of it. And it’s something, I guess I hadn’t thought about quite so much, which is how much people use culture as an Island for, you know, some kind of weather, whether it’s an escape from the stresses and strains of their lives or whether it’s their social Atlas or whether it’s just kind of the sheer catharsis of the work.

But in its, in its absence, I think it’s really showing up, um, how important it is just for people’s kind of mental wellbeing and their just sense of themselves.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:26:38] And do you think that’s likely to lead to a change in the audience for, for different cultural activities and indeed for the sort of things that people are looking for and what they’re demanding and seeking from cultural organizations?

Fergus Linehan: [00:26:50] I don’t know. I mean, we’ve been up in a conversation saying, you know, maybe we need to do something a little jolly. This isn’t sort of time for Corky’s the lower debt. [00:27:00] We need to come up with something a little bit. I don’t know. I think that, I think that people would like it to have large collective moment, assuming everything is safe.

I guess I meant maybe I’m just projecting this on because I personally just miss crowds. But I think initially I just I’d feel people will just rush back to what they’ve been really missing. I don’t know if it will, it will fundamentally shifted. I do think there’ll be a pent-up demand. And so I would go to a performance every night if this week, if I was left.

So yeah, I, I feel, I feel there’s going to be a pent up demand and I feel that people will just want to show their third, third loyalty to whatever it is their area of interest is. But as I think, I think the funny thing and the other one, I haven’t quite. Fully anticipated was just how much it was people missing the crowd as much as they’re missing the performance.

And [00:28:00] I think that, I know I’m sort of speaking Presley now, but a wonderful kind of circle of friends and colleagues and family that you realize. One of the things we’ve covered is whatever you have is what you have. You don’t meet anyone. You. You don’t, you don’t get introduced to anyone you, and so there’s something about a bad culture, as I say, whether that’s football or opera, which is this idea that your world is expanding and it’s socially expanding and it’s creatively expanding.

And so the thing about this crisis is it is there’s good things to it, but it is terribly inward looking. And I think people are craving kind of a little bit of a little bit of outwards at the moment. Yes,

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:28:43] it’s sort of, I mean, I know a lot of people like myself are looking forward to the Hills being sort of more accessible from Friday because it just feel that we’ve been living our lives in a very constrained way, both spatially and experientially as well.

So I can absolutely say that. I mean, it sounds like your plans are having to sort of evolve [00:29:00] all the time in the, in the changing circumstances. Is there a, is there anything more you can tell us about, um, AIS plans for the summer summer at the moment?

Fergus Linehan: [00:29:09] I mean, I sound like ingesting a tease, but actually I can’t because we really do have to, we do have to, I mean, we’ve got little things that we’re doing, like a series of our, the best of our Queens, whole concerts on radios, free through Angelo and dental, things like that.

But the other ones I’m afraid. I means it’s going to have to wait until we’re hoping that by the middle of July, we can talk about it. But I would say even within the us, that, you know, our main responsibility is going to be to make sure that in 20, 21, we can come back really strongly. And you know, there’s, there’s a moment with this where it’s, when the city is ready and when the country is ready, we need to be ready.

And it’s a little bit about my concern around some of the venues being in a bad financial way and administrative [00:30:00] way. We just need to be strong because when the switch is flipped and hopefully that will happen with the vaccine and the new year, we need to make sure that the first festival we do in 21, after this has got to be critical, it needs to have to say that sense of social cohesion.

We do need to get people to start visiting Edinburgh again. We’re going to have to have an offering that is compelling enough to just get people back into the flow. So while this August is something, we do want to have some fun with it, and we do want to have the sense of celebration. I think all of our attention has to be on making sure that 21 is we’re absolutely ready to go.

Also bearing in mind that we are larger organization and we have an incredibly strong group of people who support us. So I think there’s a role for the international festivals. Well, in terms of perhaps even helping and leading some of the other Olga’s festivals, um, to make sure that, that the festival city as a whole is there.

So it’s, um, but [00:31:00] I say, well, we’re looking at 20, 20, 21. That’s really our main area of focus.

Rebekah Widdowfield: [00:31:05] So it sounds like there’s some things to look forward to both in the short term, anyway, in terms of what’s coming up in this year’s festival, whether it’s lights or music from the Queensville performer broadcast or other things, but also things to look forward to hopefully in 2021, when a COVID-19 is put in its box, hopefully focusing on hand, thank you for sharing your expertise and knowledge and talking to us about the impact of culture on COVID.

And I’m sure many of us are looking forward to what EIF has to has to show this August. Thank you.

Fergus Linehan: [00:31:33] Great talking to you.