The arts & innovation festival now critically dubbed the ‘Festival of Brexit’ is set to be held in 2022, despite politicians being urged to drop the event.
The thought of a post-Brexit festival celebration of Britain and Northern Ireland may sound somewhat absurd, and perhaps even bordering satirical at this point in time; however, the plans for a post-Brexit festival stand strong after first being introduced while Theresa May still reigned Prime Minister.
The event, set to be held in 2022 is intended to be a celebration of the UK’s innovation and creative sectors; arts, culture, technology and design – coinciding with the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the BBC’s 100th anniversary and 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh international and fringe festivals – the festival is expected to be reminiscent of similar events throughout the UK history such as the 1851 Great Exhibition and the 1951 Festival of Britain, both boasting an intricate focus on the arts and new innovations throughout the development of Britain.
While the intention to hold an event to celebrate arts and innovation in the UK may not sound like a bad idea, throwing Brexit into the mix essentially strips the idea of it’s integrity, with critics labelling the event as ‘The Festival of Brexit’ – which in its essence, doesn’t sound all that appealing. Aside from the anxiety looming over the December general elections in Britain, many have been divided over Brexit since its inception and for good reason; and in response, a post-Brexit event could be linked to a celebration of the controversial move, which worries the museum sector as they fear it may result in loss of patrons considering the hostility toward Brexit as a whole.
When it comes to entertainment, finding musicians to perform may be an equally difficult task, as well as further creative participants. On top of these issues, there are major concerns that the festival could cause tension with Northern Ireland as the festival would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Irish civil war. Aside from ethical issues, the massive monetary budget set to be poured into the festival is concerning for many as the economic future post-Brexit is uncertain, with £120m appointed toward the event.
Boris Johnson has been urged to drop the event, but depending on what conspires after the December general elections we will have to wait and see.