Fergus Linehan mentioned though town’s summer time occasions had skilled “enormous surges in demand” earlier than the pandemic in addition they created “actual issues.”
Mr Linehan, who was appointed eight years in the past, mentioned he believed that they’d not delivered “a way of shared cultural or monetary dividend” for native residents.
He recommended that the infrastructure for the festivals had been developed with financial regeneration and tourism in thoughts reasonably than the individuals of Edinburgh
Mr Linehan, who was born in Dublin and labored in festivals in Australia earlier than taking up the EIF function, predicted that the file attendances reached earlier than the pandemic would return.
However he mentioned Edinburgh “has to determine what it needs to do with that success.”
The EIF has been operating since 1947, alongside the Fringe and the movie pageant. Their mixed general attendance, together with different occasion just like the Tattoo, jazz, visible artwork and ebook festivals, had soared to greater than 4.4 million by 2019, the very best ever. Greater than 25,000 artists and performers took half in round 5000 separate occasions.
The entire summer time festivals have been compelled to go surfing final yr within the face of the pandemic however are anticipated to return this July and August, excluding the Tattoo.
Talking in an Edinburgh College webinar on the influence of the pandemic, Mr Linehan mentioned: “We’ve lived by most likely the best growth time for dwell efficiency in historical past.
“Reasonably than changing dwell efficiency, the digital revolution created an insatiable urge for food to truly be there within the room with the artists and a crowd. In Edinburgh, we noticed enormous surges in demand for the summer time festivals.
“It’s not unreasonable to imagine that out of the opposite finish of the pandemic individuals will probably be extremely keen about going to dwell reveals.
“But it surely has created some actual issues. In Edinburgh, the recognition of the pageant season has not engendered a way of shared cultural or monetary dividend.
“I typically really feel that one of many issues that occurred throughout austerity was that the argument the humanities made for itself was about financial regeneration or tourism. A lot of our cultural infrastructure was constructed with them in thoughts.
“Maybe now we take a look at it and say it’s not truly constructed for the individuals who dwell within the metropolis, it’s constructed round these concepts. They’re not getting a direct dividend or actually not feeling it in the way in which they need to.
“The explanation Edinburgh in August is profitable is that folks discover town an exquisite place to go to and the pageant an exquisite expertise. I see no motive why that’s going to vary. My prediction is that attendance at performing arts occasions goes to return to the file ranges of pre-pandemic.
“That’s going to create a stage of success that can current challenges and alternatives that have been there earlier than.
“It’s an issue of success. Edinburgh has to determine what it needs to do with that success, and tips on how to harness and direct it.
“I’d argue that, as issues go, it’s not the worst one to have. It’s an issue many cities around the globe would fortunately take off our arms.”