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EFA presents Jubilee programme, announces keynote speaker

Gent, Tuesday, 24-04-2012

pictureThe European Festivals Association celebrates its Diamond Jubilee in 2012. One of the highlights is the EFA Jubilee in Bergen, Norway (23-25 May 2012), hosted and co-organised by the Bergen International Festival. The Jubilee conference is organised under the motto "60 Years On". The high-level programme will be opened by Michael Haefliger, Director of the Lucerne Festival, as keynote speaker, and will include a series of thought provoking presentations and discussion rounds on the future role of festivals in the world.

The EFA Jubilee will bring together 170 participants from all over the world: EFA members and festivals, partner networks including representatives of EFA sister networks from Asia, Africa, South America and the Arab region, friends and colleagues from the wider cultural and professional community. In various formats and sessions, artists, festival directors, political decision makers and the media will enter into dialogue about the responsibility of festivals today to help shape the world tomorrow. In this context, EFA will release a Jubilee publication with the contribution of some 30 authors. The essays evoke a mosaic of EFA’s multiple facets – covering 60 years of EFA history in Europe.

On 23 May 2012, the Opening Gala of the EFA Jubilee will take place. The keynote speech will be delivered by Michael Haefliger, Director of the Lucerne Festival. The Lucerne Festival was one of the 15 festivals in 1952 that founded the Association upon the initiative of the eminent conductor Igor Markewitch and the great philosopher Denis de Rougemont.

Michael Haefliger is the "Global Leader of Tomorrow" (as named by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2000). He became the creative mind of LUCERNE FESTIVAL in 1999: since then he has instituted many new ideas. He has given special attention to contemporary music, emphasising it by retaining composers-in-residence on an annual basis. By appointing artistes étoiles, he offers outstanding performers an opportunity to help design the Festival's programme every summer. He also co-founded the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA with Claudio Abbado and the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY with Pierre Boulez. In 2007 he announced plans to build a new performance venue for music theater, scheduled to open in 2013-14.

In the evening of 23 May, the Bergen International Festival will open its 60th edition with “Xerxes” by Händel, directed by Stefan Herheim, who is regarded as one of the most significant and innovative opera directors of our time. Stefan Herheim will also be a speaker in the conference on 24 May.

On 24 May 2012, the Conference “EFA 60 Years On: The Bergen Agenda” will take place, with the aim to set the Bergen Agenda under the motto “Celebrate the Arts, Transform People, Imagine the World”.

The Bergen Agenda will take up initiatives such as the ‘Europe for Festivals - Festivals for Europe’ programme (an exclusive round table is organised for Mayors, Ministers and European Union representatives to discuss the European Agenda for Culture and the role of festivals in local, regional, European and global development), the Atelier for Young Festival Managers (a first alumni meeting is taking place), the global relations with colleague networks from all over the world and with the partners of the European House for Culture, A Soul for Europe and the Access to Culture platform, and the research project of France Festivals.

“The Bergen Agenda will set the pace for the next years for EFA to continue its work with and for festivals on an artistic as well as a broader societal level. All this is embedded in a strong artistic programme offered by the Bergen International Festival,” says EFA President Darko Brlek.

In three main sessions, the Bergen Agenda will address topics such as innovation in the arts, arts and business and citizens in digital times.

The detailed programme including speakers and more information on the sessions, as well as all news related to the EFA Diamond Jubilee and an ever growing list of video messages by key political and cultural players, can be found on the EFA 60 Years On website. For questions please contact EFA at

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