This past April 29, Emmanuel Macron unveiled the lockdown exit scheme and the four-step reopening plan. This past May 3, France started the first phase of this crisis exit strategy, before entering the second step from May 19, leading to the reopening of terraces, non-necessary stores, and some cultural places. But what about musical events and especially summer festivals? This May 6, 2021, Roselyne Bachelot announced open air and standing festivals might resume from July 1, 2021 but they will have to comply with a “gauge of 4sqm per festivalgoer”.
“Open air and standing festivals might resume with a gauge of 4sqm per festivalgoer and within a limit that will be set by the prefect depending on the local circumstances”, the Minister for Culture declared this Thursday during a hearing led by the Commission for Cultural Affairs at the General Assembly. Furthermore, “standing shows and concerts will be allowed to resume depending on a fitted protocol and a limited gauge set by the prefect in light of the local circumstances”, Bachelot added.
Reactions have flown since then. “If it involves a 4,000sqm field for 1,000 people, it can be considered, there are places wide enough to enable social distancing. But if it involves a 4sqm square per person, it is unmanageable. No one wants to live such an experience”, Syndicat des musiques actuelles (Sma – Union Trade for current music) supervisor Aurélie Hannedouche told AFP.
For the record, the Minister for Culture announced this past February that only festivals complying with a 5,000-people gauge and a seated layout could be maintained this summer. This announcement led many festival promoters to cancel their 2021 editions so did Hellfest, Garorock, Eurockéennes de Belfort, and even Lollapalooza Paris.