Pressure forces Edinburgh Festival to drop BP as sponsor

Edinburgh fringe 037

​Festival organisers bow to pressure and rethink sponsorship deal with BP 

6th April 2016 by Robert Armour 2 Comments

Oil giant BP will no longer sponsor the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) following intense pressure on organisers to drop the deal.

Pressure has been mounting on EIF to reconsider the arrangement after campaigners and major stars, spoke out publicly against company and its environmental record.

EIF's 2016 programme was revealed today and BP was absent from the sponsors list.

The end of the relationship was confirmed by the EIF via Twitter.

It comes less than a month after BP and Tate announced they were parting company after 26 years, and two days after the new British Museum director came under intense pressure from 100 cultural, scientific and political luminaries to end its own long-running contract with the oil giant.

Daniel Bye, whose show won a Fringe First award last year and who was part of the creative protest against BP, said: "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."

I'm delighted that EIF have ended their association with massive corporate criminal BP - Daniel Bye

Last year saw two creative protests against BP during the festival, once outside Usher Hall and one in the Hub, the EIF’s headquarters. Following the festival, a group led by EIF staff, called BP Out of the Arts - Edinburgh, formed.

They sent a letter to Fergus Linehan, EIF Director, and launched a public petition, resulting in a meeting with the director last autumn.

Jess Worth from BP or not BP?, who co-ordinated the protests, said: "It’s less than a month since Tate parted company with BP and the dominoes are clearly starting to fall. The EIF has walked away from a 34-year partnership because being associated with BP was doing too much damage to its reputation. Big oil has been embedded in our museums and festivals for too long but now the shift to a fossil free culture is taking off. However, there is more to be done in Edinburgh.

"Now the Science Festival must clear out its fossil fuel funders and the Portrait Gallery should close its doors to BP."

Ric Lander from Friends of the Earth Scotland added: “Edinburgh International Festival should be congratulated on 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.”

There has been no response so far from BP.

6th April 2016 by Rose Burn

I wonder if any of these spokespeople drive a car?

11th April 2016 by maxxmacc

Funny how all these 'Green' people drive big cars. If it wasn't for the oil industry, the country would be like rural Romania. Don't believe the hype!