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Flemish government earmarks €60m for festivals

The Flemish government has designated a total of €60 million to help the region’s organisers kickstart preparations for this summer’s festival season.

Flemish minister of economy, Hilde Crevits, has allocated €50m in repayable advances for the broader events sector to “to get the engine going and offer insurance against the risk of organising an event in uncertain times”, she says.

This is in addition to the €43m worth of repayable loans Crevits has already released, which went to 150 organisers including music festivals such as Sfinks, Laundry Day and Gent Jazz.

For the new round of funding, the maximum amount an organiser can apply for has been raised from €800,000 to €1.8m and larger organisations will be eligible to apply this time.

All events that secure funding must comply with the measures applicable at the time they take place and, according to Tidj, in most cases, the advance is non-refundable if the event is cancelled.

The remaining €10m from the €60m pot – allocated by Flemish minister of tourism, Zuhal Demir – will subsidise Covid measures for small music festivals, such as the construction of rapid test villages, additional entrances and exits, or the rental of a larger site.

“Flanders has the best festivals in all of Europe…it is in everyone’s interest that the festival summer can take place”

“Smaller events with a total cost of at least €250,000 can count on the support of up to €75,000, while larger players with budgets of at least €7.5 m can count on support of up to €500,000,” says Demir.

The application process for corona-proofing grants is already open on Event Flanders. Organisers can combine both types of support.

Demir is working with Event Flanders, which sets out the event policy for Tourism Flanders, along with virologists and festival organisers, to work out the conditions under which festivals can take place safely. The plan should be ready by the end of this month.

“Flanders has the best festivals in all of Europe,” says Demir. “From large mass manifestations to the more intimate niche events, it is in everyone’s interest that the festival summer of 2021 can take place in the best possible way, for organisers, for visitors and for the rest of Flanders.”

Flanders is one of three Belgian regions which encompasses major cities including Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges, and is home to the country’s biggest festivals including Tomorrowland (pictured), Pukkelpop and Rock Werchter.

Last month, Flemish prime minister, Jan Jambon, also responsible for culture, announced that there will be clarity for festivals by mid-March at the latest.

 


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Toutpartout Sessions bring ‘music to the streets’

Belgian booking agency/promoter Toutpartout has launched Toutpartout Sessions, a weekly video series featuring live performances on the streets of the agency’s hometown, Ghent.

Toutpartout, founded by Steven Thomassen in 1994, has booked or promoted dozens of club shows, festivals and European tours for artists including Kurt Vile and the Violators, Fleet Foxes, Beach House, Blonde Redhead, Caribou, Explosions in the Sky, Father John Misty and José González.

Now, says Thomassen – in partnership with music photographer Anton Coene and Belgian magazine Humo – Toutpartout wants to “share its passion for live music and bring it to the streets” by “shooting intimate sessions with the city as a background”.

Previous Toutpartout Sessions include Micah P. Henson (embedded above), Widowspeak, Mary Lattimore and Mauro Pawlowski.

“With Toutpartout Sesions, we’re creating a strong connection between Ghent and the artists we love,” explains Thomassen. “The sessions merge the magic of a live performance with the most rare, often hidden, gems of the city and discover how effortlessly this city goes hand in hand with music.”

 


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