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It's all quiet on the pilot show front in France, where highly publicised test concerts in Paris and Marseille have failed to materialise
By Jon Chapple on 07 Apr 2021
As the Netherlands steams ahead with yet another round of clinically monitored pilot concerts, media in France is asking when its test shows, first announced in January but still without dates, will take place.
The concerts were supposed to have kicked off in the second half of March, with French hip-hop group Iam playing two shows at the 8,500-capacity Dôme in Marseille, followed by a sister event with the band Indochine at Paris’s Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in April. A thousand people are expected to attend the Marseille concerts, with the Paris experiment having a capacity for 5,000.
During a session of the French Senate on 25 March, sénateurs heard from Constance Delaugerre of St Louis Hospital, which is supporting the Paris show, that the concerts are still feasible, despite tightening restrictions in France (which culminated in a third national lockdown from Sunday 4 April). Additionally, on Friday the city of Marseille signed an agreement with Inserm (the National Institute of Health and Medical Research) reaffirming the availability of the Dôme for the planned pilot shows.
The scheme is reportedly still “stuck on the government side”
Last week, Le Parisien reported that the shows would instead take place on 29 April, although that is now looking unlikely with France in a four-week lockdown.
According to RTL, while organisers are keen to to get going (the pilot programme is being coordinated by industry association Prodiss), the scheme is currently “stuck on the government side”, with the ministry of culture proving “unreachable” amid the new lockdown measures.
Since announcing the test concerts, France has seen a number of high-profile festival cancellations, including the likes of Lollapalooza Paris, Les Vieilles Charrues, Hellfest and Les Eurockéennes, with most citing a cap on attendance of 5,000 seated guests as being responsible for the decision not to go ahead.
“[T]he government has hesitated too much since February and the epidemic situation has ignited,” writes RTL’s Jean-Mathieu Pernin. “As a result, these concerts still have not taken place, and the festivals are cancelling one after another.”
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