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French festival organisers have criticised the French government's plan for return of live events in the summer

The French minister for culture announced on Thursday February 18 that festivals could only have 5000 seated attendees

  • Jemima Skala
  • 20 February 2021
French festival organisers have criticised the French government's plan for return of live events in the summer

French festival organisers have criticised the French government’s plan for the return of live events in the summer.

On Thursday February 18, the French minister for culture Roselyne Bachelot announced that summer festivals would be restricted to 5000 attendees that would all have to be seated and properly socially distanced.

The French government will also make a €30m fund available to compensate organisers in the event of forced cancellation and also to cover costs for measures implemented to be able to meet the new guidelines.

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Bachelot has said that she will meet with festival organisers on a monthly basis to work with them to adapt these arrangements, responding dynamically with them to any changes in the Coronavirus restrictions in France.

AEG Presents France, France’s live music trade union SMA (Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles) and French metal festival Hellfest Open Air have added their voices to criticise these guidelines.

Speaking to IQ, AEG Presents France general manager and vice president Arnaud Meerseeman has raised several issues, such as the fact that the summer period is deliberately undefined and no outdoor trading of food and drink will be allowed at these outdoor events. He said, “I feel it’s essentially an act of political communication to gain some time with the sector. The framework is very loose.”

“There is also no detail on the protocol to welcome audiences and therefore the impossibility to cost the extra measures needed to welcome the audience. And finally, there is a big sore point of no food and beverage, which is quite problematic for an outdoor event.

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A spokesperson for the SMA has said, “At the present time and under the conditions announced, we cannot say that festivals will be held this summer because, for a major part of our audiences, our artists and our teams, a seated event bringing together 5000 maximum people, perhaps without access to the bar or the restaurant, cannot be called a festival.”

France’s announcement comes after Boris Johnson’s tentative mention this week of plans for the potential reopening of UK nightclubs. This was later clarified by the Minister for Business and Industry Nadhim Zahawi who said that it was unlikely that nightclubs would reopen until September. Detroit’s Movement festival also announced this week that it would be cancelling its plans for a May festival.

[Via IQ]

Jemima Skala is Mixmag’s Weekend Editor. Follow her on Twitter

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