Will music festivals go on as expected this summer or not? If so, what are the conditions? Will they be able to welcome a lot of standing festivalgoers? Or will they have to adapt and provide a new format with a seated audience? This February 18, Minister of Culture has met fourteen festival promotors (Hellfest, Les Vielles Charrues, Eurockéennes de Belfort, Musilac, Main Square, Francofolies…) in order to find solution for their recovery.
At the end of the video-conference meeting, the Syndicat des musiques actuelles (SMA) told AFP that festivals will run this summer but on some conditions. They have to reduce and limit their gauge with maximum 5,000 festivalgoers. Promotors will also have to adapt their format since only seated and open-air festivals will be allowed. Social distancing will have to be complied with as well.
“As far as the general layout is involved, we know more, but there are still grey areas, what is sure is the 2021 festival season will not be like the others” SMA Aurélie Hannedouche told AFP.
Yet, Roselyne Bachelot promised the gauge will be reviewed upwards, or downwards, depending on the evolution of the coronavirus epidemic in the months to come in France.
Following the meeting, Breton Les Vieilles Charrues festival – that gathered 270,000 festivalgoers in 2019 – said the edition 2021 was still on, deciding on adapting to the new restrictions. “I feared a lot there would have been no announcement at all, or that the summer festivals be banned” the Breton festival director, Jérôme Tréhorel, told AFP. “We’ll adapt Les Vieilles Charrues. It won’t be a silent summer in Carhaix, it will be a summer of reunion”, he added.
For festivals that must cancel their edition, and for those who have to adapt, the Minister of Culture announced a 30-million-euro relief fund for festival will be provided. “It’s a first volley” she said, adding that “this fund will be renewed if need be”.
Several questions remain without an answer as for bars and food areas on site. It will depend on the reopening “of the food sector”. “We want to host our festivals this summer, but not to any cost, we wait for a strong word from the President or the Prime Minister committing to the resuming of the cultural sector” SMA representative added.
Now, we are awaiting to know what other festivals will try to adapt to these new announcements and those that have to cancel their 2021 edition. For the record, Ile-de-France festival Solidays has already decided to cancel the edition. As for Hellfest, they said they will not reduce the gauge in a letter sent to the minister.