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Hundreds of French venues hit by coronavirus event ban

Many live events are still going ahead as planned across France despite a government-imposed ban on all gatherings over 5,000 people

By Anna Grace on 02 Mar 2020

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The AccorHotels Arena in Paris cancelled a concert over the weekend

image © AccorHotels Arena/POPB

The French Ministry of Health has imposed a ban on all gatherings of over 5,000 people in “confined” spaces, following similar measures affecting the live music market in Italy and Switzerland.

Health minister Olivier Véran announced the ban on Saturday (29 February), which also forbids any events in the northern region of l’Oise and Haute Savoie in the southeast of the country, with “the aim of limiting the spread of covid-19”. 130 cases of the virus have currently been reported in France.

According to French live music industry association Prodiss, the ban will affect “hundreds of venues” in the country and “thousands of cultural events”. Prodiss has called a crisis meeting with the ministries of health and culture to talk over the decision.

The 20,300-capacity Accorhotels Arena in the French capital of Paris cancelled yesterday’s Juste Debout hip-hop dance competition.

However, directors of the Zenith Paris – La Villette (6,293) have announced that “no concerts will be cancelled in the next 15 days”, subject to possible changes in government regulations. This means concerts by Caravan Palace (7 March), Debout Citoyennes (8 March), Papa Roach and Hollywood Undead (13 March) and Claudio Capéo (14 March) will take place as planned.

The French Ministry of Health has imposed a ban on all gatherings of over 5,000 people in “confined” spaces

Shows at Zénith Toulouse Métropole (11,000-cap.) are also going ahead as scheduled.

At the Zénith De Strasbourg Europe (12,079-cap.), a number of concerts which “do not fall under the cancellation conditions” are still going ahead. The fate of an upcoming show by French singer M Pokora (7 March) will be confirmed “this evening or tomorrow”, while a Top Music Live show has been postponed.

A James Blunt concert taking place tonight at the Halle Tony-Garnier in Lyon (17,000-cap.) is going ahead as planned.

It has yet to be confirmed whether upcoming events including La Nuit de la Bretagne (7 March) will take place at the Paris la Défense Arena, as directors wait for local government to make a decision.

Elsewhere, Green Day became the latest act to cancel upcoming shows in Asia due to coronavirus-related concerns. The decision follows the cancellation of concerts by K-pop stars BTS in South Korea last week.


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