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Quote of the Week

“A festival is a unique occasion for meeting different people and different cultures. Together with artists who are real masters of communication through art, a festival is a strong builder of bridges between different cultures - and even between civilizations."

Ján Figel’, former European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture, and Youth

EFA News

New on Festival Bytes: The Middle Ages of European Festivals

24 November 2015

The big performing arts festivals on the ‘old continent’ turned into mass culture over the years. Huge events in which the influence of city marketing is very present. These festivals as Festival d’Avignon, Holland Festival, Wiener Festwochen and Edinburgh International Festival were built to overcome differences in Post-Second World War Europe. With present-day Europe at crisis in many aspects, but most pre-dominantly in the moral sphere, these festivals no longer proclaim a critical, reflective and political stance. They have become market orientated, tourist-attracting and city brand polishing Ivory towers. Read the full blog by Jonathan Offereins on Festival Bytes. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Duties of a privileged theatre maker

10 November 2015

Back home in Copenhagen after a week spent in Gwangju, South Korea, and the thoughts gathered during the Atelier for Young Festival Managers starts to form into new shapes in my head. At the Atelier I found myself in a room full of curious, creative and hardworking people engaged in the arts all over the world. Each one of us having very different realities and backgrounds, but all of us in various ways struggling to make the world a better place through our work. Read the full blog by Emilie Bendix on Festival Bytes. - more...

EFA's FestFlash (November 2015): Festival highlights from across the globe

05 November 2015

What do Kenya and South Korea have in common when in comes to arts and culture? What do you know about the festival scenes in Shanghai or in Tel-Aviv? What about the contemporary dance scene in Spain? Our Festival Bytes bloggers take you on a festival journey around the globe! What's more, we invite you to discover EFFE's autumn festivals taking place across Europe at Enjoy the journey, and read EFA's newsletter FestFlash!  - more...

New on Festival Bytes: What I Heard About The (Arts) World* 06

29 October 2015

While the December through March Festivals are still keeping their programmes under wraps here are some ideas of what you can already look forward to. This edition of What I heard about the (Arts) World* shares highlights from the Lucerne Festival at the Piano, Europalia Arts Festival, Festival d’Automne à Paris and Berliner Festspiele. As usual, we are looking at world premieres, collaborations and new productions. Read the full blog by Eva Nunes on Festival Bytes.  - more...

New on Festival Bytes: New Routes of the Silk Road

03 November 2015

Following the footsteps of humankind and the journey through history is always fascinating. It is a never-ending story of evolution, adaptation and irresistible instinct to find a nest to survive. In a broad perspective, what we call culture is the knowledge of humans, accumulated over generations with the purpose of continuation of mankind. On this long journey, the threat has been not only a harsh climate but also the brutality of competing tribes. And those who survive, for thousands of years, have been travelling; out of curiosity, because of necessity, or just to discover, to trade, to conquer, to defeat, to fight. As an Izmirian, coming from the coastal region of Anatolia, I am not unfamiliar with the stories of ancient heroes and their travels: Homer’s Odysseus, the Persian messengers described by Herodotus, or the traders of the Silk Road. Read the full blog by Ceyda Berk-Söderblom on the China Shanghai International Arts Festival / Performing Arts Fair on Festival Bytes.  - more...

EFA members met their Asian peers in Shanghai

02 November 2015

As in previous years, an EFA Delegation went to Shanghai (15-21 October 2015) for the China Shanghai International Arts Festival / Performing Arts Fair. Some 10 EFA members attended the event to meet colleagues from the Asian arts and festival sector and to explore collaboration opportunities. EFA President Darko Brlek spoke in a workshop on “How to Plan and Run an Arts Festival”. Ceyda Berk-Söderblom shares some more insights in her blog "New Routes of the Silk Road" on Festival Bytes.   - more...

New on Festival Bytes: South Korea and Kenya: two kids from the same class

12 October 2015

During the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Gwangju, organised by The Festival Academy, I was privileged to visit some really amazing places and events including the Opening Festival at the newly constructed architectural marvel, the Asian Culture Complex (ACC). Kenya and South Korea have many things in common; I’d say if South Korea and Kenya were kids they would be in the same class. Read the full blog by Liz Kilili on Festival Bytes.  - more...

New on Festival Bytes: La Bella Vita

06 October 2015

The Lago Maggiore, nice weather, concerts in historic and stunning settings, good food and fantastic wines; the “Settimane Musicale” had enough to offer! This year, national musicians where dominating the impressive list of concerts and recitals, possibly due to recent more complicated budget regulations of the Italian Government. It looks like more than ever festivals need to join forces to engage their artists. Stresa Festival offer their musical encounters in elegant and historic settings, among other, on three islands on the Lago Maggiore full of indigenous trees and flowers, historic buildings and small streets that are providing breath-taking views of the lake and the Swiss Alps. Read the full blog by Irme de Jong on Festival Bytes.  - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Rethinking our responsibility towards society

01 October 2015

Looking back at the week of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Gwangju, I have to say that it was a truly unique experience. The Atelier took place in the context of the opening of the Asia Culture Centre and its first festival; on the historic site where the democratic uprising in South Korea took place in 1980. It allowed us to understand the context of cultural and artistic activities in South Korea. Read the full blog by Inge Ceustermans,Managing Director The Festival Academy, on Festival Bytes.  - more...

New on Festival Bytes: What I Heard About The (Arts) World* 05

29 September 2015

"I heard that Europe was moving and shaking with festival life these last months! I heard of a wonderful festival in the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata and took the opportunity to go spend some quality time there. I also heard that our EFA members have been making the summer months exciting, so here are a couple of things I didn’t see but would have liked to. As they say: so many festivals, so little time." The fifth edition of Eva Nunes' "What I Heard About The (Arts) World" features world premieres, collaborations, and new productions of festivals, including Reykjavik Arts Festival, George Enescu Festival, Lucerne Festival, Berliner Festspiele’s JazzFest, Brno International Music Festival, MITO Settembre Musica, Tbilisi International Theatre Festival, Gent Festival of Flanders, and Costa Contemporánea Festival. Read the full blog by Eva Nunes on Festival Bytes. - more...

EFFE Awards for Top 12 Festivals in Europe Announced

28 September 2015

250 festival representatives from across Europe gathered in Paris on 27 September for the announcement of the first ever EFFE Awards. An International Jury, presided over by Vincent Baudriller, Director of Théâtre Vidy in Lausanne, rewarded 12 of the most trend-setting European festivals of this year from a pool of 760 festivals from 31 countries. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Experiencing movement in Spain

25 September 2015

For many the perfect summer holiday involves soaking up on vitamin D on a relaxing spot with nothing to do but enjoy a good rest in good company. Imagine when you can top that by adding to the warm sun and calm sea the chance to soak up on vitamins T and G (and I don’t mean Torulitine and Riboflavin nor Tequila and Gin!). And that’s precisely how I spent my holiday, soaking up on (T)alent and (G)enerosity! Talent of creators like Guillermo Weickert, La Macana, María Muñoz (Mal Pelo), Elías Aguirre or pianist Alejandro Rojas Marcos. Generosity of a very engaged team, led by Nerea Aguilar, director of Costa Contemporánea, who, for the 6th year, ensures the professionalism and quality of a festival which creates a community filled with life in this far corner of Spain with very little means but a lot of heart! Read the full blog by Eva Nunes on Festival Bytes.   - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Back to reality

23 September 2015

A week after the Atelier for Young Festival Managers and I am still getting over the 12 extraordinary days in South Korea, 11 of which in Gwangju the ‘cradle of the Korean democratic movement’ and home to the newly built Asia Cultural Centre. What a great trip, I learnt a lot, extended my networks and experienced a culture I knew very little about. It is easy to be absolutely ecstatic and eulogise about all of the amazing people and the experience, this was inevitable, I guess! Read the full blog by Abduk Shayek, one of 35 participants of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Gwangju, on Festival Bytes. - more...

Gwangju Atelier for Young Festival Managers confirms success of The Festival Academy

24 September 2015

[PRESS RELEASE - Brussels, 24 September 2015] The Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA), continues extending its offer for training in festival management. Since its launch in 2013, new education formats have been initiated based on the success of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers. The Atelier was developed into a regular training for artistic festival directors with two editions per year. As of 2016, The Festival Academy will add a course for production managers to its programme. The most recent Atelier in Gwangju, South Korea, confirmed the success and necessity of providing training opportunities for early career professionals and to collaborate across continents. Participants joined the ever-growing Alumni Network counting currently 335 future festival leaders from 65 countries. - more... puts 760 festivals at your fingertips

23 September 2015 is launched today as the most comprehensive guide to festivals in Europe. In Europe the arts are just a festival away, and this new website brings information on 760 of Europe’s best festivals to audiences across the continent and beyond. These festivals, recipients of EFFE’s quality label, come from 31 countries and range from the big and famous to the quirky. The website is live now at, giving audiences far and wide access to these amazing cultural events. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: What you should know about Tel-Aviv’s festival scene

22 September 2015

September marks the end of summer and beginning of autumn events in Israel. Temperatures slowly decline beneath 30°C and the holiday season is in full swing. Around the country people pack their children and travel near and far to one (or more) of the many festivals flooding the countryside, ranging from folklore carnivals and traditional crafts happenings to fringe theatre and sacred music festivals. One might expect the biggest and boldest festivals to take place in Tel-Aviv, the vibrant capital of culture and creativity in Israel and a popular tourist destination, thanks to its long beaches and sparkly atmosphere. Is this really the case? Let’s go on a tour of the Tel-Aviv festivals scene and find out. Read the full blog by Premshay Hermon on Festival Bytes.  - more...

EFA's FestFlash (September 2015): Summer of Festivals

18 September 2015

At the end of September, the European Festivals Association will for the first time unite a new community of festivals through its initiatives EFFE - Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe. On 27 September, the EFFE Award Ceremony and EFFE Community Launch will celebrate the first edition of EFFE Labels and Awards. Only days before, we would like to draw your attention to another selection of festivals: the festivals experienced by our Festival Bytes bloggers this summer. This FestFlash brings you to the UK, Finland, Poland, Portugal, and Lebanon. Enjoy the journey, and read EFA's newsletter FestFlash! - more...

New on Festival Bytes: After the Atelier: how questions can lead to actions

17 September 2015

Simone Truong, Artistic Director Festival TanzPlan Ost, and Grey Yeoh, independent creative producer and current Head of Arts at the British Council in Malaysia, both participants of the Gwangju Atelier, addressed their colleagues and mentors during the closing ceremony at ACC (6 September 2015) to sum up the intensive week on behalf of the 35 participants: "The week of the Atelier saw the coming together of 35 colleagues of our generation and 7 experienced mentors, with different backgrounds, interests and visions but they, no, we, all share one thing: THE DESIRE TO CREATE AND TO RUN A DAMN GOOD FESTIVAL." Read the full text on Festival Bytes. - more...

Gwangju Atelier: “We all leave determined to act”

16 September 2015

The second Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Asia took place successfully in Gwangju, South Korea from 31 August to 6 September. Hosted by the Chonnam National University and the Asia Culture Center, the Atelier GWANGJU 2015 gathered 35 young festival managers from 20 countries and four continents, as well as seven renowned festival directors from across the globe. They are now part of The Festival Academy’s ever-growing Alumni Network, counting 335 alumni and 40 mentors and presenters, which will help them in their future collaborations and work. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Fringe Benefits

14 September 2015

In an age of rapid changes to our habits of cultural consumption – an age in which so much of that culture is now semi-intangible, located in the virtual library that is ‘the Cloud’ – there is something reassuringly old-school about attending the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. My first Fringe experience was as a teenager, almost 20 years ago. Since then, the festival has grown to extraordinary proportions – it is now the largest in the world, issuing 2,298,090 tickets for 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows across 313 venues this August alone. Such scale stands in stark contrast, of course, to its original role as a ‘fringe’ event to the Edinburgh International Festival, which it now dwarfs. Yet despite its enormity, in many ways I often feel as if nothing much has changed since my first Fringe two decades ago... Read the full blog by Ben Schofield on Festival Bytes.  - more...

New on Festival Bytes: We were very hungry

08 September 2015

I’m stealing the words from one of the participants of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers GWANGJU, Josh McNorton from the UK. “We were very hungry,” his voice boomed across the room during a plenary session. Josh used the sentence to describe his team’s feeling the night before, while they prepared to discuss a given topic over dinner during the first day. All 35 participants of the #AtelierGWANGJU from 20 countries were divided up into six groups, and each group was given a topic to talk about. Read the full blog by Grey Yeoh, one of 35 participants of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Gwangju, on Festival Bytes. - more...

Atelier in Gwangju kicked off: “The Atelier is about sharing ideas, knowledge, dreams”

01 September 2015

On 31 August 2015 in Gwangju, South Korea at the Convention Hall of the Chonnam National University, the Atelier for Young Festival Managers of The Festival Academy (initiative of the European Festivals Association) kicked off. The opening ceremony was hosted by Professor InSul Kim. Jee Byung-moon, President of the Chonnam National University (CNU), and Jongman Choi, President of the Institute of Asian Culture Development, welcomed the 35 participants from 20 countries and 7 mentors to the second Atelier in Asia. Inge Ceustermans, Managing Director of The Festival Academy, introduced the Atelier, and Hugo De Greef set the tone for the discussions during the seven days to come based on his experience as General Coordinator of The Festival Academy and Mentor of the Atelier. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: The hidden music theatre boom in Finland

31 August 2015

“How well do we really know ourselves? How confident can we be in predicting what we would or would not do in novel situations that we have never encountered? Could we like God’s favorite angel, Lucifer, ever be led into the temptation to do the unthinkable to others?” Philip Zimbardo raises these questions in the foreword of his book entitled The Lucifer Effect. As the leading professor of The Stanford Prison Experiment, one of the much-debated and shocking researches of contemporary psychology, Zimbardo is undoubtedly not alone with his thoughts. We all are curious to know… What if I told you a murder that took place in Finland in 1881? A tragic story about Arndt Hofström, respected priest, murdered with a mallet by his brother Oskar Hofström, who was also a priest. Oskar, who acclaimed his act meant to bless his brother, remained calm at the trial and was sure that God was pleased. His blood-curling story stayed as a mystery among pages of history. The secret motivation arising from his religious vision were unveiled. Today, a century later, it became a fundamental inspiration for Autuus (Bliss) – an interesting and strong music theatre work, world premiered at the Helsinki Festival. Read the full blog by Ceyda Söderblom on Festival Bytes. - more...

Atelier goes to Gwangju, public invited to opening and closing sessions

27 August 2015

The 9th edition of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers will start next Monday, 31 August in the vibrant city of Gwangju, South Korea. The training programme of The Festival Academy is organised in cooperation with the Chonnam National University and the Asia Culture Center, which will be opened with a festival on 4 September. 36 participants from 20 countries will meet for the first time during the public opening ceremony at Chonnam National University, which will kick off 7 days of exchanges, networking and discovering cultural Gwangju. The public is invited to the opening and closing sessions. - more...

Inge Ceustermans on The Festival Academy, its goals, and ambition for the future

25 August 2015

The European Festivals Association plays a key role in developing the festival managers of tomorrow. The success of its Atelier for Young Festival Managers programme led to the foundation of The Festival Academy in 2013, offering various training formats and networking opportunities to young, dynamic and passionate festival makers worldwide. Managing director Inge Ceustermans told Mark Powell from the International Arts Manager more about its work. - more...

Second Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Asia to kick off 31 August in Gwangju

18 August 2015

[PRESS RELEASE - Brussels, Belgium/Gwangju, South Korea, 18 August 2015] The next Atelier for Young Festival Managers, an international training programme run by The Festival Academy and initiated by the European Festivals Association (EFA), will take place in Gwangju, South Korea, from 31 August to 6 September. Hosted by Chonnam National University and Asia Culture Center, the Atelier GWANGJU 2015 will gather 35 young festival managers from 20 countries. During the Atelier participants broaden their programming skills, join a network of future festival leaders worldwide, and are inspired by seven renowned festival directors from all over the world who share their experiences. A public opening session will kick off the Atelier GWANGJU 2015 on 31 August at Chonnam National University’s Convention Hall. The Atelier will end with a public closing ceremony on 6 September at the Asia Culture Center. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: How grateful we must be

26 June 2015

How grateful we must be, all those who are able to travel, to travel in space, to travel in time (the highest form of this travel must be the travel in our mind, in our souls without moving a centimetre even). At the point of writing, I am on a flight to Sofia to attend the Paper Art Fest set up and directed by Daniela Todorova and Todor Todorov, two fantastic artists and initiators of many movements in the arts in Sofia and way beyond. The flight inspired me to enter into a real travel of mind and approach the topic of innovation not in the way I probably was invited for by Daniela and Todor (from a European, comparative, festival related point of view), but rather from an inside versus outside point of view: innovation is inside of us, and it needs an outside view to take full shape. What do I mean? Read the full blog by Kathrin Deventer on Festival Bytes. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: For heaven’s sake

13 August 2015

“For heaven’s sake” is what my colleagues Piotr Turkiewicz, Renata Puczyńska, both working for the newly built National Forum of Music, and myself came up with when we met in Wroclaw last week to work out a concept for the 65th General Assembly of the European Festivals Association (EFA) which will be held in Wroclaw, Poland from 14 to 17 April 2016. We were still under full impression of our visit of the National Forum the previous evening; I had the unique opportunity to be taken on a tour of this impressive building with its Director, inventor and motor behind its realisation, Andrzej Kosendiak. The National Forum of Music will be officially opened at the beginning of September. Read the full blog by Kathrin Deventer on Festival Bytes. - more...

Monique Veaute to share her broad experience managing arts

17 August 2015

Monique Veaute, President of the Fondazione Romaeuropa in Italy, will also guide the participants of the next edition of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers that will take place in Gwangju from 31 August to 6 September 2015. They will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with her during this intensive week of training on festival management. - more...

Marie-Hélène Falcon explores the ever-shifting frontiers where art and ideas meet

12 August 2015

Marie-Hélène Falcon, former Director Festival TransAmériques Montréal (Canada), with more than 30 years working in the field of festivals, will participate as a mentor in the next edition of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers that will take place in Gwangju from 31 August to 6 September 2015. She will share her insights and experience with the 36 participants from 20 countries all around the world. - more...

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