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French music sector plans a number of test concerts

Live music association Prodiss and trade union SMA are spearheading the organisation of test shows in Paris and Marseille for this spring

By IQ on 11 Jan 2021

Prodiss is hoping to hold a test concert in a venue such as Zenith in Paris

Prodiss is hoping to hold a test concert in a venue such as Zenith in Paris

image © Flickr/Kmeron

The French music sector is planning a number of test concerts for this spring – following in the footsteps of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Spain and Singapore.

A working group for test concerts has been assembled by France’s live music association, Prodiss, steered by Jean-Paul Roland (director of the Eurockéennes festival), Marie Sabot (We Love Green festival), and Armel Campana (Main Square festival).

Roland says the group is hoping to hold a test concert in March in an indoor arena such as Paris’s Zenith (cap. 6, 293), provided they win the support of government.

“We’ve spoken with a lot of people: epidemiologists, laboratories, CNM (National Music Centre – to finance the project), the City of Paris etc. All that is missing is the ministerial decision because it cannot be done without a stamp of approval from the Ministry of Culture, and also probably with approval from the health department and home office,” he says.

“There will be scientific answers in the weeks that follow, but organisationally, we will have the answers the same day, especially on the time and logistics to plan for saliva tests or PCR, for example, at the entrance,” adds Roland.

“That big summer festivals like Hellfest or Eurockéennes can test everyone at the entrance is unlikely, but it can be a complementary solution for spectators who have not done a test. We need to have as many indicators as possible to adapt,” he explains.

“I want to send a message of hope: we must be able to achieve a summer of festivals”

Malika Seguineau, director of Prodiss, says: “To reopen to the public, you have to go through this kind of experimentation, to lead to a festival season and, on the other hand, to establish a schedule for the tours, which depending on their size require three to 24 weeks months preparation.”

Two more test concerts are being planned for February in Marseille, organised by Béatrice Desgranges of the city’s flagship festival, Marsatac, who is also a member of France’s live music trade body, SMA (Syndicat des musiques contemporaries).

The protocols for the tests have been validated by Inserm (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and the Scientific Council of Professor Delfraissy, and a conference to present the results is to take place on 8 April in Marseille.

“We are going to stop being nice,” says Aurélie Hannedouche from SMA. “We have the impression that, in culture, we must give more guarantees than other industries. We are told that we generate queues and that we do not present scientific data: as if shopping centres do not generate queues? And where is the science for the stores where everyone keys the products?”

The various test concerts were mentioned by the minister of culture, Roselyne Bachelot, last Friday (8 January) on radio station franceinfo who said that it was “very important to base decisions on scientific studies”.

Bachelot also said she is “doing everything” to make possible a reopening of cultural places at the beginning of February after prime minister Jean Castex announced that there would currently be “no relaxation” in the closure of museums, cinemas, theatres and music venues, last Thursday (7 January).

“I want to send a message of hope: we must be able to achieve a summer of festivals,” said Bachelot. “I am confident,” she added.


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