Big French festivals cut the sound due to the pandemic

Art Rock, Main Square, Lollapalooza: The list of canceled big summer music festivals is getting longer and longer due to stubborn health crisis and crippling restrictions.

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These events, which cannot be held in 2020, join the group of XXL festivals already thrown into the towel, such as Solidays (228,000 people in 2019), Hellfest (180,000 spectators in 2019) or even Garorock (162,000 spectators in 2019) 2019)).

“It’s sad, the list is growing and not over yet,” commented on Agence France-Presse, Malika Segoyeno of Brodess (National Union of Musical Performances and Varieties). “The big fall tours depend a lot on festivals: We ended up thinking 2021 might be worse than 2020… it’s horrible,” says the director.

The framework put in place by the government to organize festivals this summer – 5,000 people maximum, seated and spaced – does not fit most current music formats.

Thus the main square (115,000 people in 2019 in Arras) indicated on Wednesday that they had not been able to find their way there: “Can we really deprive ourselves of the coexistence, exchange, insanity and participation that is the salt of the event?” The organizers replied in the negative and set a date in 2022.

Art Rock (80,000 people in 2019 in Saint Brieuc) on Tuesday highlighted the “deteriorating health context and the complete lack of perspective on reopening cultural spaces” to justify its cancellation.

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The words are pretty much the same on Lollapalooza’s side in Paris (95,000 people in 2019), which also surrendered on Tuesday. Art Rock hopes to be able to hold an alternate event in September, but it is already invoking “6 million euros in economic flows and more than 1.8 million returns that will be lost to the economy of our lands (our region)”.

All eyes are now on Eurockéennes de Belfort (128,000 people in 2019) with international programs. Its director general, Jean-Paul Rollin, had spoken of a “dead end” at a virtual roundtable held by the Senate in mid-March, which did not bode well. Especially since the “Eurox” audience, which was polled in early March (more than 21,000 responses), 72% rejected the idea of ​​attending parties while they were seated.

At the moment, among the current major music festivals, Les Vieilles Charrues (270,000 spectators in 2019) and Francopholi (150,000 in 2019) promised to hold them during the adaptation.

But most of the others “are forced to cancel.” “They tried to play the game,” insists Malika Segueno. “Because the frame is more than uncertain: the distance, but with one seat in two, three? With capacity of 35%, 65%? We don’t know,” she explains. In their press release, Main Square organizers also denounced “government procrastination.”

Malika Segoyeno also stresses the “insufficient” of the festival’s aid fund: “Of 30 million, there are 20 for music – all aesthetics combined, from current music to classical – and 10 for the arts. Street and theater.” “We understand that we will have to organize an event with our own money, while we will need it to restart the dynamic in 2022, so we cannot take this risk for 2021”, decrypts the person in charge.

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To darken the picture even more, test parties are constantly postponed. Not being considered for this summer, but to prepare for the possible reopening of permanent concert halls this fall.

In Paris, it is envisioned in particular to experiment with 5,000 people standing in a concert in Bercy. “The health protocols were completed and sent to the authorities for approval,” says Malika Segoyeno. But we are well aware that it will undoubtedly be necessary to postpone in May. ”

But now is the time to anticipate. We have a slow restart time. If we were only told “yes” in September, it is too late, and there will be nothing in 2021, “she warns.” When the signals are green, nobody will be ready, it is sad, “Aurélie Hannedouche adds to France Press. Current Music (SMA).

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