Brussels event celebrates Edinburgh International Festival’s role in Europe’s cultural landscape

12 May 2014

[MEDIA RELEASE; Brussels, 12 May 2014] Following the UK launches of the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival, the Festival’s Director Jonathan Mills takes part in a special event this Tuesday (13 May) in Belgium. At the event, which has been organised by the European Festivals Association, Mr Mills will discuss this year’s programme which brings together artists from around the world to explore the relationship between culture and conflict in the year of the centenary commemoration of the First World War. Festival 2014 presents theatre, dance and music that looks at the work of artists who in difficult and uncertain circumstances can transcend their surroundings to create work of great beauty and optimism.

The 2014 programme includes world-leading Belgian artists Collegium Vocale Gent with conductor Philippe Herreweghe presenting Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Lassus’ Lagrime di San Pietro, and in a special concert featuring the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Haydn’s Nelson Mass alongside work by Bruckner and Stravinsky; the Ricercar Consort present music from Scheidt, Schütz and Schein; and NTGent join forces with Thalia Theatre Company and Flemish director Luk Perceval to present The Front, based on the acclaimed novel All Quiet on the Western Front.

In a year in which Scotland is proud to host the Commonwealth Games, the Festival also features artists and work from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and especially South Africa - this year celebrating the 20th anniversary of its democracy - all countries which share aspects of UK history and traditions, as the Games place Scotland firmly in the international spotlight. The South African season also has links to Belgium, with BOZAR, Brussels a co-producer of Ubu and the Truth Commission from Cape Town’s globally-renowned Handspring Puppet Company.

Also this August, the Scottish Parliament will host the second Edinburgh International Culture Summit in partnership with the Festival, following the success of the inaugural Summit during Festival 2012. The Summit takes place between 10 and 12 August 2014, providing opportunity for Culture Ministers and officials from nations around the world to meet artists and thinkers for a series of debates and conversations about forging international dialogue through culture.

Edinburgh International Festival 2014 brings together over 2400 artists from 43 nations around the world in a programme which includes the Kronos Quartet, Mariinsky Opera, Stan Douglas, Luk Perceval, National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre of Great Britain, Heiner Goebbels, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Rambert, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lemi Ponifasio, Tom Cairns, Chekov International Theatre Festival, Czech Philharmonic, Ute Lemper, Handspring Puppet Company, Brett Bailey, Paco Peña Flamenco Company, Mark Baldwin, Daniil Trifonov, Anne Sofie von Otter, Piotr Anderszewski, Oliver Knussen, Jordi Savall, Collegium Vocale Gent and many, many others.

Edinburgh International Festival Director Jonathan Mills said: ‘I would like to thank the European Festivals Association as well as the Kaaitheater and European House for Culture for giving the Edinburgh International Festival the opportunity to launch in Brussels.

'Founded in 1947, our Festival owes its origins to an urgent imperative to rebuild a sense of community in a Europe which had torn itself apart, to provide "a platform for the flowering of the human spirit", creating an opportunity to celebrate the best of humanity between peoples of all nations. Consistent with this I believe the Festival should bring together individuals, communities, and nations to share in the arts, and thus enrich all our lives. I look forward to welcoming audiences to Edinburgh this August to share in compelling stories from artists who are exploring and transcending conflict to create the most sublime and optimistic work.’

‘I would like to take this opportunity to invite media, politicians and culture vultures from Belgium and around the world to join us in Scotland’s stunning capital this August. You will not be disappointed by the amazing work on show.’

President of the European Festivals Association Darko Brlek said: ‘The European Festivals Association shares the belief in the transformational power of culture that manifests itself in the extraordinary programme of the Edinburgh International Festival. Just like EFA, the EIF has been committed to the European integration process for more than 65 years now. In the years to come EFA will be guided by the motto “Rising to the Occasion” and will continue to support festivals in being sustainable, influential, and innovative cultural actors in our ever-changing society.

For many years, EFA and EIF have been closely collaborating: EIF hosted the recent edition of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Edinburgh (3-10 April 2014) and Sir Jonathan Mills has acted as a presenter in previous Ateliers. Furthermore, Sir Jonathan Mills represented EIF in the annual round tables bringing together Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and some 25 directors of major festivals.’

This event is hosted by the Kaaitheater and the European House for Culture and takes place at the Kaaitheater, 20 Square Sainctelette, Brussels. It starts at 18:00 and includes a drinks reception. On the programme of the Brussels launch are: welcome addresses by Guy Gypens, Artistic Director of the Kaaitheater, and Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General, time for exchange with the press and audience.

Full information on the Festival programme as well as the opportunity to buy tickets is available at


Press office: +44 (0)131 473 2020, or

High resolution images for download, a free to use article on Festival 2014, videos, further information and accreditation instructions is available on

Notes to Editors:

Hub Tickets: +44 (0)131 473 2000
Book online and more information:
Key dates for the diary:

Friday 8 August Festival 2014 opens.
Sunday 31 August Virgin Money Fireworks Concert; Festival 2014 comes to a close.

Keep in touch:

Press contact: Susie Gray +44 (0)131 473 2020
+44 (0)7810 383 091 or

The Edinburgh International Festival is supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland. Scottish Charity Number SC004694.

The European Festivals Association (EFA) is the umbrella organisation for festivals across Europe and beyond representing 102 festivals, national festival associations and cultural networks from 41 countries. For more information consult or contact EFA thanks for their support: the European Commission, the Flemish Authorities and the City of Ghent.

Keep in touch:
EFA on facebook
Atelier on facebook
EFA on twitter
EFA blog Festival Bytes

Contact: Juliane Reissig, Communications Manager, European Festivals Association,
Kleine Gentstraat 46, B-9051 Gent • Belgium, Tel: + 32 9 241 80 80, Fax: + 32 9 241 80 89,,