Praise for Mills

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Joyce McMillan makes some 
excellent points about Edinburgh’s Festivals and the independence debate (Perspective, 16 August). I would be the last person to want to take issue with one of Scotland’s most accomplished and highly regarded journalists; however I do feel compelled to come to the defence of Sir Jonathan Mills.

Since his arrival, he has been perhaps the most radical and innovative director of the International Festival in modern times and he had a tough act to follow.

I was delighted when he encouraged his core audience to enjoy the benefits of the Fringe, breaking down the barriers that used to exist between the “official” Festival, and the many other wonderful events that take place in Edinburgh’s arts extravaganza.

In addition to his legacy in continuing to nurture and grow the reputation of the Festival for attracting truly world-class artists and shows to Edinburgh, he has done more to reach out and be inclusive towards everything that constitutes Edinburgh’s Festivals than any other director.

His comments for the first time gave formal acknowledgement of the phenomenal success of the Fringe. All of the Festivals – Fringe and Tattoo included – are, in combination, one of the greatest shows on earth, and a huge credit to Edinburgh and Scotland.

As the same day’s paper points out, 95 per cent of those visiting and enjoying the “Festival” have had a happy experience. Sir Jonathan is not responsible for all of that success as he would be the first to admit, but he has without doubt, more than played his part. I am sure that Joyce McMillan would be happy to acknowledge that fact.

Donald Anderson

Former leader

The City of Edinburgh Council