FERGUS Linehan, the new director of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), has long enjoyed a reputation for being forward-thinking.

Now he has shown that to be the case in both a literal and a figurative sense.

His decision to move the 2015 festival forward by a week is a bold one, bringing the EIF back into line with the Fringe for the first time since 1996. The 2015 event will run from August 7-31, and will also coincide with the Military Tattoo, the International Book Festival, and the Art Festival.

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Fears that losing the week when the EIF is the only festival running in the capital, after the Fringe closes, will hit ticket sales can at least in part be allayed by the imaginative program­ming Linehan outlined yesterday, with major productions of Antigone and The Marriage of Figaro in the pipeline, and a new emphasis on modern music.

In that vein, Linehan's vision of promoting rock music, giving success­ful Scottish bands such as Mogwai and Belle and Sebastian the chance to perform at the Usher Hall, will raise eyebrows, but also quicken the pulse.

In all his changes Linehan says he will be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. It certainly looks like this baby will be in rude health.