Estates General of Festivals, Bourges, 2 October 2020
Organized on the initiative of Roselyne Bachelot, Minister of Culture, the first estates general of the festivals were held on 2 and 3 October in Avignon. The minister detailed in opening the emergency aid for cultural actors hard hit by the health crisis. This unprecedented time of exchange took place both in Avignon and throughout the territory, with the relay of the DRAC (Regional Departments of Cultural Affairs).
In the Centre-Val de Loire region, the Estates General was held on October 2 at the Théâtre Jacques Cœur in Bourges. The event brought together a hundred people in person (elected officials, directors of cultural affairs, artists, director.trice.s, president.e.s of festivals, federations of artists, student.e.s) and about twenty people in videoconferencing.
More than 180 festivals in Centre-Val de Loire
The DRAC presented an overview of festivals in the Centre-Val de Loire region.
The mapping of the festivals shows a strong attractiveness of the two metropolises, Orléans and Tours, which mobilize most of the festivals (55 festivals in Indre-et-Loire, 38 in Loiret). In comparison with its neighbours rich in events, the Loir-et-Cher (30 festivals) is in between.There is a festival tropism in Berry: the «Berry-Province» (Cher: 20 festivals, and Indre: 25 festivals), with many rural festivals. With only 14 festivals spotted (nine of which take place in Chartres), Eure-et-Loir came in last position.
Thus, the map of the festivals reveals an accurate portrait of the region, its strong points (the Ligian axis) and its weaker areas.
Of these festivals, 18 are supported by the Ministry of Culture in various capacities.
As the graph below shows, the majority of festivals fall within the field of live entertainment
Among performing arts festivals, 85% are devoted to music, 10% to theatre (and related disciplines), 3% to multidisciplinary events and 2% to dance. Within music, 70% of festivals belong to the current music sector, 25% to the so-called “scholarly” music sector, and 4% to multidisciplinary music festivals.
Festivals: a cultural, economic and social challenge
The Estates General were an opportunity for everyone to express themselves, according to the diversity of local situations and to highlight the role played by festivals in society. Because beyond the obvious economic impact, festivals participate in the desire to be together, to create, to participate, to be both spectator and actor. For young people in particular, festivals are a vector for access to culture. They are part of France’s identity and contribute to its image in the world.
At the end of the debates, the need to prepare the recovery in the long term, to accompany the artistic journeys. To this end, the support of the State in complementarity with that of the communities appeared to be indispensable.
Summary of Discussion:
The Vice-President of the Region for Culture, the Mayor of Bourges, the Regional Director of Cultural Affairs,
technical representatives of the Cher Department, the Cher UDAP.
A hundred people in person, elected officials, dacs, artists, directors, festival presidents,
Federations represented: France-Festival, Fracama, trade unions: Synavi and Syndeac, Fevis and Profedim.
A Republican Berry reporter.
About twenty people were present on video during the afternoon.
Referee: Jérôme Bloch, music and dance advisor at the DRAC.
DRAC Live Performance Advisors: Anna-Laude Boulon, Theatre Advisor and Frédéric Lombard,
Advisor current music and artistic teachings (referent festivals).
Written message from PROFEDIM of September 30 (communiqué and memo sent to the EG referent: 1 concert of our ensembles out of 4 takes place in a festival, vital for the profession. This figure is increasing.
For the groups, the observation is as follows: loss of turnover and of international distribution, which collapsed.
Festival cancellations for the most part, and carry-overs to 2021, revenue loss, and only 7% of
organizers have compensated the artists.
PROFEDIM members trace back to EG festivals that few of them have received a response
their access to the fund and the amount allocated. We would focus on covering between 30 and 50% of festival losses. Those that are well supported for public money and/or have loyal private partners in 2020, the collateral effects are weak. On the other hand, those who are very dependent on ticketing are worried, coupled with significant stress for those who have not been able to honour their commitments and have not been able to compensate all artistic teams.
Worrying situation of the OGC, with a double penalty: the festivals received the support of these OGC but
they provided direct assistance to the projects. So there is a loss of direct assistance from the CMOs and the
indirect through festivals. PROFEDIM calls for recognition and support of festivals
structuring from 2021. Criteria are proposed: employment, investment, support for the development of projects beyond festival time, rurality, diversity, volunteering (legal security and valorization of volunteer experiences), social and environmental responsibility, sponsorship, audiovisual (Support digital capture, tools and objects policies).
SPRING OF BOURGES : INOUIS took place in September, with a new, young audience, the festival keeps the hope of being able to organize in spring 2021 (and host the EG2 festivals at the national level as announced by the minister). The Mayor of Bourges is delighted with this news, because BOURGES is a city of festivals, artists, heritage. Economic issues are directly related to artistic issues. The mayor of Bourges, Yann Galut, is preparing the dossier of BOURGES «French capital of culture», but also «European capital of culture 2028», in connection with the President of the CVL region: it is a common and regional candidature. NB; electric cars for the festival from 2018, ephemeral charging stations for electricity, partnership with Crédit Mutuel, which makes naming on the festival («Printemps de Bourges Crédit Mutuel») and not only branding as on other festivals. This partnership is envisaged as a real dialogue with the team and the artists; it is a matter of accompanying the artists, to follow the emergence, with a policy of scholarships, in the long term.
THE CONTINUOUS SOUND this festival was cancelled in July 2020: (ecofestival - site: three stages, the big stage of the
clearing, the apple orchard scene and the courtyard scene of the castle; violin room known since the beginnings in 1976, initially "international meetings of makers and master ringers", not "consume music", but invent and share it"reflecting the popular origins of this oral culture - carpool policy organized by the festival’s facebook page) it began with stripping and ringers, it developed into a festival with many concerts, but there are also ball scenes. The festival attracts more than 150 luthiers each year, it prepares a year in advance, it participates in the original construction of a world of traditional and current music, it accompanies young talents (artistic background). Parquet floors are also places for dancing.
SOUND LANDS - an ecofestival: sustainable development is at the heart of the project of this festival: practices
virtuous in the choice of organization, public awareness and valorization of eco-gestures, various
associations present on the festival, reduction of waste not recovered, bottles and bottles for volunteers and artists, removal of disposable dishes, short circuits, free transportation, 35,000 to 40,000
festival-goers in Touraine, at the Domaine de Candé, it is based on 85% self-financing; this year it must have been
cancelled. Mini-tours with social centers were organized instead, another format, another
dimension (short circuit), but an important deficit; question: should we review the mimicry of festivals? We should not all do the same thing.
ROCKOMOTIVES en Vendôme, lasting more than 15 days, in conjunction with other festivals of «free figures», the
Charivari and Gare à la Rochette, a collective of musicians, which organizes a cross between artists, the three festivals work on a cultural project, the foundation of which is the festival. Charivari cancelled but Rockomotives postponed in October, from 17 to 24 October. Think about short circuits. A third of the programming has been cancelled. It provides 45% own funding.
POP HOP. This festival (in conjunction with SMAC d'Orléans, L'Astrolabe) had to evolve in the face of the health crisis: seated shows (October), an open-air venue (Campo Santo, Orléans centre), a young audience. For Director Fred Robbe, everything will resume as soon as we have a COVID vaccine. We have to think about another format of festivals, should we continue to play the game of exclusivity, to bring from far away heads of posters for shimmering cachets: isn’t it time to slow down? To take the time of reflection? to curb the acquisitions and concentrations of festivals? Perhaps it is also time to integrate cultural rights into festivals. We need to rethink the model of festivals that have become capital events (Avignon). We must work in a network and not in competition. To be in balance, it would be necessary to fill to 110%... it is necessary to find festivals on a human scale, anchored in the territory, because is born a desire for territory: it is necessary to re-examine the practice of production, programming, broadcasting. How else to program tomorrow? What really makes sense?
THE BARN OF MESLAY (Touraine), the festival is based on volunteers, very few permanent staff, a
20 volunteers, the artistic director decided to keep the concerts (seated) in another form. There were free concerts. There was a reflection, how to offer classical music to a new audience, «we were shaken by the changing tempi of festivals». Think about staging festivals and perhaps capture young people (school). President Danielle Momméja, present to talk about her festival, reports that the festival has lost a good part of its volunteers this year, not mobilized during the period of postponement, and also feeling some fear about the virus. The president of the festival, together with artistic director René Martin, worked with the DRAC to see in what gauge and in what context a certain number of concerts could be maintained (no international artists, no orchestra).
HARVEST, contemporary music, in Tours, which one season over the whole year, has chosen for the first
once this year (because of COVID) to gather his concerts on two festivals; fall and
spring, micro-concerts of 45 minutes, small numbers (chamber music) and small gauges, with concerts that do not take place only once, but are organized, like film sessions, every hour, which allows the artists a proper stamp, less public but several concerts of small form in the day. The repertoire covers the musical creation of recent decades and favours living authors. The three evenings of Les Moissons featured 18 works by 16 composers (September 29 - October 1 for the first edition). The concerts offer solos, duets and trios. Anne AUBERT, artistic director, by changing the time, the format and the time of the concerts, saw come a new audience, in partnership with the University; this director questions, seeks, re-examines the concert of contemporary music, wonder how to bring the audience and want to show that this music can make the audience wonder whatever its age. It is necessary to leave the bubble of contemporary music, to leave definitively the inner self and to abandon the term «scholarly music», certainly very practical, but which distances and intimidates.
THE PIANO BARN rural festival in the Indre, in a barn, in contact with nature, because nature is a vibration, like music, link with local producers, AMAP market at the time of
festival, on the site of the festival. Offer concerts differently, between the barn and outside. An open-air opera, orchestra reduced to piano, with Opera Fuoco and David Stern (Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro). Concerts under the stars. The director of the festival Cyril Huvé (a philosopher and pianist, «Victoire de la musique classique 2010», a rare former French student of Claudio Arrau), decided to open a wall in his barn to offer a semi-indoor, mobile, mid-outdoor stage (following the health crisis, the artistic director decided to do work he had already planned before the pandemic: this decision was accelerated to be operational on the eve of the festival so that everything is ready for this 2020 edition). For him, we must not let ourselves be discouraged and move forward. It was a statement, almost a manifesto in front of his colleagues in the room, including Yves Henri, another great pianist (who had to cancel the Nohant Chopin festival, indeed: only a few isolated concerts could take place this month of June 2020). The artists have already composed in very difficult periods (wars, epidemics, revolutions, exiles...), so we must do like them and continue, in
strengthening partnerships and networks. Do not experience the multitude of BERRY festivals as a
competition (Nohant Chopin festival nearby) but as a chance, as an invitation to fight
ensemble. Like others, Cyril Huvé noted the loss of international artists, who could not be brought in, which limits gauges and transportation.
MANOIR DES ARTS (Jaugette – Obterre, Indre), contemporary music festival with many
creations. Gender parity ensured, in the environment of the park of the BRENNE, the festival welcomes a family audience, concerts at dawn, in the park of the Brenne, animal observation. Music in the heart of nature. Problem reported by Irina KATAEVA-AIMARD, renowned artistic director and pianist: a festival at the border of department or region, the administrative limit is an obstacle to communication, administration, it would be necessary to relax the interfaces between departments, between regions, between DRACS. The same thinking goes for the «Formats Raisins» festival, at Charité-sur-Loire/Sancerre, which has the difficulty of finding itself straddling two regions, so two administrations, two DRACs, etc. «What unites the musicians is however stronger than what separates them» (Cyril Huvé). The public does not expect only recognition but expects discovery, surprise, astonishment; children have their place in this festival; they have a new ear and without a priori. The festival has gained recognition (various aids) but also legitimacy, which is built with the public over the years. After the fact, Irina Kataeva-Aimard underlines the advanced age often of directors of festivals of learned music (over 50 years), and their competitive logic, in
A comparison with the younger and more diversified one of the organizers of current music festivals, organized in networks and federations, who dialogue at the national level.
SOLI and VARIOUS VOYAGES, ORLEANS CDN festivals; programming of young, multidisciplinary artists, with regional artists in particular, on the theme of improvisation, female programming, simple forms, all disciplines receive the same attention. In 2019 the programming was almost exclusively female.
The winter trips are devoted to improvisation, with artists from various disciplines (musicians, dancers, circassians, videographers). Séverine Chavrier and Mathilde Cocq note that these times
bring a festival and friendly moment to a program throughout the year, and allows to make a date for these appointments with the public. It also makes it possible to renew it and to make innovative and alternative offers.
THE WET, festival of young contemporary creation, backed by the CDN of TOURS. A spot on the emergence to better accompany the paths of artists. François CHAUDIER feels a responsibility to help young artists. Place the accompaniment of young professionals at the heart of the CDN project of TOURS. Accompaniment of the artistic journey over two years. We have to open the meeting.
IN PRACTICE, AFA de l'Indre, ATELIER DE FABRIQUE ARTISTIQUE, “LA PRATIQUE”, including dance theatre and music, around Cécile Loyer: a festival backed by a place and a company (“Cloy”) dedicated to the public, in
link with the CCN, the CDN of ORLEANS, the EPCC of ISSOUDUN, the SN of CHATEAUROUX, Equinoxe; a festival supported by major partners, meetings throughout the year, with performances. The April festival had to be postponed to 2021. Gender parity. A festival led by a choreographer and dancer, which opens to singing, theatre and the desires of the public who can participate in cultural offerings.
OVERVIEW, contemporary dance, a festival of the CCN of Tours that lives on thanks to the CCN’s recipes, but this year with 70 cancelled dates, it could not have taken place. The festival is a reflection of Thomas Lebrun’s generous programming; diversity of aesthetics, partnerships, diversity of artists' backgrounds, openness to the diversity of dance (including hip hop), organization of regional spots to identify emerging young artists from the choreographic scene and accompany the journey of young dancers.
This CCN fully fulfils its missions, and the festival is at once a laboratory, a showcase, a journey of artists. Parity seems obvious. It’s not even a question anymore. Tough proposals next to proposals that can please everyone, and affordable, a clever mix and a fair balance.
URBAN DANCE ENCOUNTERS (Esthétique HIP HOP) by Abderzak HOUMI, artist with a CVL agreement and associated with the Evry National Scene. Many partners. A festival that does not rely on a place, but is carried by its partners. Festival in TOURS, LA RICHE and JOUé les TOURS, in biennial. The festival will take place in October 2021, “not too hard because we were in N-1 but it is difficult to build a festival because it is organized a year in advance, and we missed meetings”. This edition will be difficult to build.
Question from a moderator of gender parity? The answer: in amateur practice, girls are numerous: 15 girls for 1 boy. It is true that in professional practice, there are 2/3 boys for 1/3 girls. So we can seek and achieve parity, if we want.
THE GARDEN OF TALES : Jean-Jacques SYLVESTRE (also representative of the Synavi at the EGF) offers tales for all ages, all audiences, in the open air and outdoors, in the poorest terroir in the festival (the 28th). The festival is open to music, theatre and writers, and organizes “decentralized” vigils for a family audience; amateur audiences can also do the “first parts”. Parity is guaranteed because there are many women storytellers. Volunteers actively participate in the festival. There are storytelling workshops. It’s interactive. We expect the public to be responsible for the environment: the public takes their waste (picnics) and we have nothing to clean up, no garbage on the festival site. 80% of materials used by visual artists for shows are recovered. Objects are given a second life. The director complains about getting lost for the financing given the complexity of territoriality.
Maps and graphics
List of festivals
(non-exhaustive list. Will be updated as needed)