July 25, 2021

“We worked so that festivals could restart”

Jean-Philippe Thiellay, the president of the National Music Center (CNM) is optimistic about the holding of festivals and the return of the public to concert halls. Despite the health crisis which has shut down the entire performing arts industry, no bankruptcy is to be deplored. It calls for a reflection on public music policy.

Many major music festivals – Solidays, Hellfest, Eurockéennes, Rock en Seine, Lollapalooza, Main Square… – have canceled their edition. What do you think ?

The “standing” festivals with the biggest gauges waited as long as possible but conditions were too fluid and international artists were not coming, which forced them to cancel. This represents hundreds of thousands of tickets and what is lost is lost.

Also read the survey: Hellfest, Printemps de Bourges, Eurockéennes … music festivals in fear of a new white season

Despite everything, I am rather optimistic about the coming of the public to the other festivals and the possibility of listening to live music again. Many of these, of all aesthetics, in all territories, will be able to be held, in Bourges, La Rochelle, Clermont-Ferrand, Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône), Aix-en-Provence, La Côte-Saint -André (Isère), Coutances (Manche) among many others… Obviously, it’s not a normal summer, but we worked with the Ministry of Culture so that the festivals can restart. Here we are.

The Syndicate of current music is worried about the obligation to count 4 square meters per festival-goer. And who will check the health pass? How to avoid crowds at the entrance, contrary to barrier gestures and anti-terrorism measures?

All these questions of legislation, regulations and prefectural authorizations are posed to the State. There are still a lot of uncertainties and I share the concern and even the dismay of professionals, but, within a month, the answers will be given and the test concert that took place on Saturday, May 29 at the AccorHotels. Arena de Bercy will bring many lessons.

Read also: In Paris, 5,000 people vibrate to the rhythms of Indochina to establish a health protocol … and for pleasure

On the health past, many questions remain open, positions have evolved, professionals understand that there are not 36,000 solutions to resume. Young people rush to vaccines. There too, I am optimistic and if the health situation continues on this trend, everything can be organized.

The economic support system is now ready for the opening of the festivals. The fund has been open at the CNM since May 19 and we have already received around 100 files. This system makes it possible to cover operating losses of up to 400,000 euros.

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