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Macron: No French festivals until mid-July

French president extends ban on festivals and events until “at least” mid-July, leading to cancellations of Eurockéennes, Solidays, Festival d’Avignon and Main Square

By IQ on 14 Apr 2020

Macron: No French festivals until mid July

Eurockéennes de Belfort is among festivals to be called off

image © Eurockéennes

French festival favourites including Eurockéennes de Belfort, Solidays, Festival d’Avignon and Main Square are no longer taking place this year, as the government extends its ban on large gatherings until mid-July at the earliest.

The news follows similar lengthening of event bans in Austria, where large gatherings are banned until the end of June, and Denmark, which will be festival free until 31 August.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced yesterday (13 April) that the country’s lockdown will last until 11 May, with schools and day centres reopening on that date. However, many businesses including restaurants, bars, music venues, and theatres will remain shuttered.

No festivals or other public events are expected to take place until “at least mid-July”.

The cancellations of Eurockéennes, Solidays and Festival d’Avignon add to those of fellow French festivals Hellfest and Lollapalooza Paris, which were called off last week. The Stockholm edition of the Lollapalooza festival brand was also cancelled last week, although the franchise’s Berlin event is going ahead from 5 to 6 September.

“From the very first news of the lockdown, this cancellation seemed unavoidable,” reads a statement from the organisers of Eurockéennes, winner of the best festival award at this year’s Arthurs.

The event, which was attended by 130,000 people in 2019, was due to take place from 2 to 4 July, featuring acts including Massive Attack, the Lumineers, Foals, Burna Boy, Cage the Elephant and Marc Rebillet. Refund information will be available from 20 April.

“It has now become a reality. Unfortunately this cancellation presents some serious questions about the future of the festival and of (non-profit festival organiser) Territoire de Musiques. Facing a complex financial situation, Eurockéennes will suffer long-term from this dark year.”

“The decision to cancel the festival is one of the most difficult ones we have ever had to make”

Main Square festival, due to take place from 3 to 5 July in the city of Arras, is another event to lose its 2020 edition. “This is obviously a blow to all of us, but your enthusiasm gives us the energy we need to offer you next year what will be the most beautiful edition of the festival in Arras,” reads a statement from organisers.

Sting, Twenty One Pilots, Tones and I, Black Eyed Peas, Sum 41 and Roger Hodgson were among artists billed to play the sold-out event. Tickets will remain valid for the 2021 event, with details of the refund process to be announced in coming weeks.

Solidays festival (70,000-cap.), scheduled to take place at Paris’ Longchamp Hippodrome from 19 to 21 June featuring Anderson Paak, Aya Nakamura, Black Eyed Peas and Metronomy, also announced its cancellation following Macron’s announcement.

“The decision to cancel the festival is one of the most difficult ones we have ever had to make,” says the team at Solidays, which is organised by French AIDS awareness group Solidarité Sida.

Refunds will be available from the start of May, say organisers, adding that, given the situation, “perhaps some will choose not to ask for one”.

Festival d’Avignon, a multi-venue festival of theatre due to take place from 3 to 23 July across the city of Avignon, is another to cancel due to the ban extension, with organisers saying: “We have held out hope for as long as it was possible but the situation has called for another outcome. Our duty now is to preserve and invent the future of Avignon Festival.”

The drama festival was set to celebrate its 74th outing in 2020.

Other French festivals including Festival de Nîmes, scheduled from 16 June to 24 July, Lyon’s Nuits Sonores, which was initially postponed from the end of May until 22 to 26 July, and Vieilles Charrues, set for 16 to 19 July, have also called off their 2020 outings.


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