French festivals and live events have been given the approval to go ahead this summer provided the attendants are seated, and capacity is limited to 5000 people.
French minister for culture, Roselyne Bachelot has also announced that in addition to being seated the attendants must also be properly socially distanced.
The French powers that be have made a €30m fund available to compensate organisers for any unexpected cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund may also help cover costs for extra measures implemented in order to meet the new guidelines.
Roselyne Bachelot has also said she will meet with leading festival organisers to have a monthly meeting that will help them adapt to the current arrangements, and be dynamic in helping them adapt to the changes in the French coronavirus restrictions.
Events company AEG Presents France and France’s live music trade union SMA (Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles) have both shared an opinion to criticise these guidelines. Mainly linked to things such as the summer period is deliberately undefined to non-specific dates, and no outdoor trading of food and drink is to be allowed at these outdoor events.
Speaking to IQ, AEG Presents said, “I feel it’s essentially an act of political communication to gain some time with the sector. The framework is very loose.”
“There is also no detail on the protocol to welcome audiences and therefore the impossibility to cost the extra measures needed to welcome the audience. And finally, there is a big sore point of no food and beverage, which is quite problematic for an outdoor event.”
An SMA spokesperson said: “At the present time and under the conditions announced, we cannot say that festivals will be held this summer because, for a major part of our audiences, our artists and our teams, a seated event bringing together 5000 maximum people, perhaps without access to the bar or the restaurant, cannot be called a festival.”
It remains unclear how many French events will go ahead under these new terms, but it’s still a positive milestone that plans are being made to allow events to run in some capacity, as the nightlife industry all across the world has been hit especially hard by COVID-19.