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French fests welcome offer of help from minister

Associations are hopeful of a solution to the festival deadlock, but say they need clear solutions by the next meeting with Roselyne Bachelot

By IQ on 01 Feb 2021

French minister of culture Roselyne Bachelot

image © Le ministère de la Culture

Friday’s rendezvous between the French minister of culture and 14 festival promoters was a constructive meeting but did not result in any concrete guarantees regarding the festival summer, say participants.

The organisers of leading festivals including Les Eurockéennes, Main Square, Vieilles Charrues and Les Francofolies de La Rochelle met with Roselyne Bachelot on 29 January, as concern mounts over the impact of France’s ongoing health state of emergency.

According to the Union of Contemporary Music (SMA), which represents Au Foin De La Rue, Les Suds, Marsatac, Festival de Poupet and Le Cabaret Vert, the minister told those in attendance that “fair and appropriate answers” would be found to questions on capacities, timings and configurations, “which we are delighted about, given the diversity” of the festivals, says an SMA spokesperson.

Live music association Prodiss – whose members include the aforementioned large festivals, as well as Musilac in Aix and Britanny’s Panoramas – describes the meeting as the “first step” towards securing certainty for festivals, which are “economic engines” for the localities in which they take place.

Bachelot (pictured) will hold another meeting with the festival sector on 15 February, by which time she will need to have concrete answers and solutions for festival organisers, says Prodiss.

“We have a moral and financial responsibility to our teams, our partners and our suppliers”

According to SMA, Bachelot declined on Friday to speak on whether reduced capacities and social distancing would be necessary, indicating she would save her decision for the 15 February meeting.

“In the meantime, she suggests that we work together on the type of assistance that could be provided to us” by the government, the union spokesperson continues, which, through Bachelot, has “reaffirmed its desire to support us through appropriate measures”.

A release from Prodiss entitled ‘15 days to save festivals’ says it “want[s] to believe that the state will be there [for us] and will support the industry”, but it will reserve judgment until the 15th.

Asking for “clear proposals from the government” to ensure festivals can go ahead, the spokesperson adds: “We have a moral and financial responsibility to our audiences, our teams, our partners and our suppliers.”


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