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French trade bodies are appealing to president Emmanuel Macron to pledge that no festival will be axed as a result of the Paris Olympics
By James Hanley on 23 Nov 2022
Live music organisation Prodiss has joined a raft of other French industry trade bodies in pleading for no festivals to be cancelled as a result of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The 2024 Olympics are scheduled for 26 July to 11 August, with the Paralympics to follow from 28 August to 8 September.
Le Journal du Dimanche reports that the scale of the security operation has led to concerns that other events held at the same time will be left short on personnel. The interior minister has asked for “the postponement of certain festivals” that summer, while the culture minister has spoken of “certain cancellations if solutions are not found”.
Prodiss president Olivier Darbois, director of Paris-based promoter Corida, is one of 25 signatories of an open letter to president Emmanuel Macron, calling for cultural events planned for the duration of the 2024 Games to be maintained.
“Festivals are not only essential to an entire local economy… they are part of our identity”
“This will be an opportunity for millions of visitors to come and discover our country,” states the letter. “It will also be a time when France, watched by the whole world, must show its most beautiful face… But for the past few days, we have been extremely worried, because culture is on the way to being the great forgotten part of this beautiful picture.
“Summer, for the French men and women, for the cultural world, and for decades, is the time of festivals. Festivals are not only essential to an entire local economy, they are also an eventful, festive and cultural time, a time of meeting and social bonding, which is the pride of the territories, the elected officials and the volunteers who welcome and participate in them.
“They are part of our identity. They allow professionals to work and show their know-how, artists, musicians, actors, directors to get started and sometimes achieve national or international fame. They generate a substantial number of hours of work, so important for intermittent workers in the entertainment industry as well as for many seasonal workers.”
Other signatories on the letter include France Festivals, the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers, the Civil Society for the Administration of the Rights of Performing Artists and Musicians, and the Federation of contemporary music venues, as well as music union SMA.
“We ask you to solemnly commit that no festival will be cancelled in France during the summer of 2024
“We, elected officials and professionals, know the constraints of managing such events,” it continues. “We also know that the means are not unlimited, those of our communities first and foremost.
“We are the first to understand that the organisation of an event of the magnitude of the [Olympics] will require a very important security infrastructure, and also that the festivals require to be secured. But we would not understand if our country, the seventh economic power in the world, is not capable at the same time of hosting the Olympic Games and maintaining the organisation of these major festivals which make up a major part of the cultural wealth of our country and of our territories.”
The letter concludes: “What place would we give to culture and its festivals in our country, if they become a simple adjustment variable according to the availability of the police? Especially since the consequences of the health crisis are still being felt and the energy crisis is also threatening performance venues.
“This is why, Mr President… we ask you to solemnly commit that no festival will be cancelled in France during the summer of 2024, and that solutions be found and objectified in connection with local authorities and the whole world of culture.”
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