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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


  • 1952 Foundation of the “Association Européenne des Festivals de Musique” by Denis de Rougemont, first President (until 1982), and Igor Markevitch • René Gerhard Podbielski becomes Secretary General (until 1955) • Founding members: Festival Aix-en-Provence • Bayreuther Festspiele • Berliner Festspiele • Festival International de Musique de Besançon Franche-Comté • Festival de Musique Bordeaux • Teatro Del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Fondazione • Holland Festival • Lucerne Festival • Münchner Opernfestspiele • Sagra Musicale Umbra - Perugia • Festival de Musique de Strasbourg • Biennale di Venezia - International Festival of Contemporary Music • Wiener Festwochen • Internationale Mai-Festspiele Wiesbaden • Zürcher Festspiele
  • 1953-1955 General Assemblies Geneva
  • 1956 Abraham Van der Vies becomes Secretary General (until 1959) • First General Assembly outside Geneva: Venice
  • 1957 First research published on “The role of festivals in Europe’s cultural life” (“Le rôle des festivals dans la vie culturelle de l’Europe”)
  • 1959 General Assembly Munich
  • 1960 Franz Walter becomes Secretary General and artistic advisor (until 1983)
  • 1966 First festival from outside Europe joined: Israel Festival, Jerusalem
  • 1974 General Assembly Athens
  • 1976 General Assembly Strasbourg • Publication "Festivals de Musique Européens"
  • 1977 General Assembly Bruges
  • 1978 General Assembly Salzburg
  • 1979 General Assembly Verona
  • 1980 General Assembly Granada
  • 1981 General Assembly Bregenz
  • 1982 Tassilo Nekola becomes second President (until 1989) at the General Assembly Stresa
  • 1983 Henry Siegwart becomes Secretary General (until 1996) at the General Assembly Santander
  • 1984 General Assembly Ljubljana
  • 1985 General Assembly Estoril
  • 1986 General Assembly Amsterdam
  • 1987 General Assembly Bergen
  • 1988 General Assembly Berlin
  • 1989 Frans de Ruiter becomes third President (until 2004) at the General Assembly Istanbul • European co-production, co-promotion and co-sponsorship committee
  • 1990 General Assembly Athens
  • 1991 General Assembly Prague • Creation of working groups on early music, contemporary music, extra-European arts and more
  • 1992 General Assembly Pesaro • Celebration of EFA’s 40th anniversary in Berlin
  • 1993 General Assembly Budapest
  • 1994 General Assembly Brighton
  • 1995 General Assembly Ljubljana • Publication “European Festivals”
  • 1996 Tamás Klenjánszky becomes Secretary General (until 2004) at General Assembly Brussels
  • 1997 New categories of membership are introduced for ‘collective’ members at the General Assembly Turin • European Music Festivals Association becomes European Festivals Association
  • 1998 General Assembly Estoril
  • 1999 Cooperation with the EU - first financial support • First EFA training programme in Geneva • General Assembly Dubrovnik
  • 2000 Set up of EuroFestival and a Data Centre in Brussels at the General Assembly Helsinki • EFA develops first website under EuroFestival • EFA training programme in Estoril
  • 2001 General Assembly Bad Kissingen • Ars Nova working group on contemporary music in Berlin
  • 2002 50th anniversary at the General Assembly Coppet/Geneva: Festival of Festivals and EFA 50th anniversary Charter by Dragan Klaic • Ars Nova Amsterdam
  • 2003 General Assembly Wroclaw • Ars Nova Zagreb
  • 2004 Gavin Henderson becomes fourth President (until 2004) • Move from Switzerland to Belgium • Hugo De Greef becomes Secretary General (until 2008) • General Assembly London • Conference: “New Europe, New Horizons! What next for festivals?” • Foundation of AAPAF, sister network in Asia • Launch of European Festival Research Project (EFRP)
  • 2005 Darko Brlek becomes fifth President at the General Assembly Brno • Conference: “EFA and its Networking Opportunities” • Ars Nova Zagreb
  • 2006 Launch EFA BOOKS Series: EFA BOOKS 1 “Still so much to be done” at the occasion of the centenary of Denis de Rougemont • Launch Atelier for Young Festival Managers: Atelier GÖRLITZ • General Assembly Luxembourg • Conference: “Festivals and the Media” • CAMM Rome (Collective and Affiliate Members Meeting) • Ars Nova Oslo
  • 2007 General Assembly Brussels • Conference: “Cultural Networks at Work”, in cooperation with the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) • First Round Table with EU Commissioner for Culture Jan Figel’ • Ars Nova Brussels • CAMM Ljubljana
  • 2008 Kathrin Deventer becomes Secretary General (active mandate) at the General Assembly Antalya • Conference: “Festivals in a Globalising World” • First engagement in the European Years: European Year of Intercultural Dialogue – launch of Arts Festivals’ Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue, Ljubljana • Launch European House for Culture • Launch EU Platform Access to Culture, EFA is one of the founding members • EFA BOOKS 2: Give, Get or Get Off! Challenges of cultural networking today • EFA BOOKS 3: Cahier de l’Atelier. Arts festivals for the sake of art? • CAMM Tallinn
  • 2009 General Assembly Vilnius • Conference: “Artistic Trends in Festivals” • Atelier VARNA • European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009: launch of FestLab for Creativity and Innovation, Prague  • Launch of MusMA: Music Masters on Air • EFA BOOKS 4: Dialogue. Festivals Act for an Intercultural Society • CAMM Ubeda
  • 2010 General Assembly Merano • Conference “Open the Door” • Round Table with EU Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou • President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic receives EFA, launch of No Borders Orchestra • First AAPAF-EFA meeting • Ars Nova Brussels • CAMM Stockholm • European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010: Open the Door
  • 2011 General Assembly Varna • Conference: “Out of the Box” • Publication: Open the Door • Atelier SINGAPORE • Atelier IZMIR • CAMM Budapest • Launch of FESTudy (research project initiated by France Festivals)
  • 2012 Diamond Jubilee: “EFA 60 Years On: Festivals and the World” • Launch of EFA Blog Festival Bytes • Round Table with EU Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou • Launch of African Festival Association and FestArab • CAMM Dublin • Jubilee Gala & General Assembly Bergen: kick off “Bergen Agenda” • Atelier LJUBLJANA • EFA BOOKS 5: Inside/Insight Festivals. 9 Festival Directors - 9 Stories • European House for Culture kicking off European Year of Citizens 2013
  • 2013: Round Table with EU Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou • CAMM Belgrade • General Assembly Granada • Conference: "Festival Life 2013" • Launch The Festival Academy • Festival Readings Sibiu • Partnership in the “Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe" with the European House for Culture, the Access to Culture Platform and A Soul for Europe • Story-telling about festivals on EFA Blog Festival Bytes
  • 2014: Launch of EFFE: Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe, the Pilot Project for a European Platform for Festivals • Round Table with EU Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou and new EU Commissioner for Culture Tibor Navracsics • General Assembly Sarajevo • "Sarajevo Conversations" • Ateliers for Young Festival Managers EDINBURGH and POZNAN • Festival Readings Sibiu • CAMM Lucerne • Partnership in "Rising to the Occasion" (RISE) with The Festival Academy, the European House for Culture, A Soul for Europe, and others • Story-telling about festivals on EFA Blog Festival Bytes
  • 2015:  EFFE: Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe, the Pilot Project for a European Platform for Festivals • General Assembly Ostrava •  Ateliers for Young Festival Managers BEIRUT and GWANGJU • Festival Readings Yerevan and Sibiu • Partnership in "Rising to the Occasion" (RISE) with The Festival Academy, the European House for Culture, A Soul for Europe, and others • Story-telling about festivals on EFA Blog Festival Bytes
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