Strong festival with strong sponsors
Thanks to the media, I don’t feel homesick at all in London where I am and have extended my business trip a couple of days due to the holidays. The TV in a café where we were sitting had the BBC on and the subtitles on the screen were about police attacking, with plastic bullets, the LGBT Pride march at Istanbul’s Taksim.
I totally forgot to drink my coffee, trying not to miss any word in the subtitles passing. It was very difficult to explain to my British friend, who was sitting with me, about the police intervention on the LGBT march.
At a time when the tourism industry is bleeding, this is another severe blow to Turkey’s image, whereas, there are so many people and institutions trying so hard to correct this image, like the biggest actor in our art and culture world, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV).
Ayşe Bulutgil, the media relations director of İKSV, shared an email at the end of the 45th Istanbul Music Festival, saying that this year the festival was watched by representatives of leading classical music broadcasters. İKSV has invited more foreign journalists and music critics to the festival this year than any other year. The aim is of course to have more positive coverage on Turkey.
As a matter of fact, in a link she attached, music critique Jonathan Sutherland, who covered all concerts in the first week of the festival for Bachtrack, said: “There hasn’t been a lot of good news coming out of Turkey in recent times. Something to celebrate however was the opening of the 45th Istanbul Music Festival which this year has the original title of ‘Unusual.’”
“Istanbul Music Festival: East and West in perfect balance,” the Arts Desk writer David Nice had said.
Well, won’t the BBC coverage of the police intervention on the LBGT Pride march instantly wipe away all these positive articles?
If we need to brighten our souls during this holiday, this year Istanbul Music Festival’s attendance rate was 98 percent. Last year, it was 95 percent. Thus, in a climate where so much tension and pessimism dominates, people feel the need to embrace arts tighter. Yes, art heals.
On this occasion, I want to mention that sponsors have had a major role in making this festival happen, because without sponsors, it is absolutely impossible for us to enjoy these beauties.
In her email, Bulutgil reminded that ECA has been the show sponsor of the festival for 27 years. Last year, ECA has taken over the festival sponsorship from Borusan, which had it between 2006 and 2015. Alongside with the main sponsorship of the festival, ECA has supported three major concerts as a show sponsor.
Gaye Akçen has been running the Elginkan Holding after its founder Ekrem Elginkan died 16 years ago. The assets and incomes of the company belong to the Elginkan foundation; 80 percent of its income is donated to education.
Akçen shuttles between Istanbul and the Aegean city of Manisa, where the ECA factory is located. She has plans for more overseas business. “I wander around Russia, China, Far East and Europe for investment opportunities,” she said.
More overseas business means better finances for the country as well as strengthening of the sponsors that support our arts and culture.
In the end, for strong festivals, strong sponsors are needed.