Arts Festivals Summit 2018

EFA Festivals in Focus

Celebrate Culture! Celebrate the heritage of today! Build the heritage of tomorrow!

EFA members are the core of our Association. Your work is pioneering in the international artistic life. We would like to invite you to be one of EFA’s next ‘Festival in Focus’. What does this mean?

All EFA Members are contributing to Europe’s artistic life for decades. Arts Festivals have inspired the artistic discourse and reflected the social and historical turning points in Europe’s last and current century. The very particular value festivals can give to people’s daily lives is immeasurable.

That is what we want to show to the broad public with a new initiative: EFA Festival in Focus.

 We would like to invite festival colleagues and visitors of EFA’s communication channels to look into your historical and current role in your city, your region and in your environment and bring it into an international and historical perspective.

 For that, we are setting up a series of interviews, conducted by writer and broadcaster Simon Mundy.

Budapest Spring Festival & CAFe Budapest | Hungary

Budapest Spring Festival & CAFe Budapest | Hungary

When the Budapest Spring Festival started in 1981 (perhaps mirroring the other great music festival of Communist Europe, the Prague Spring) relationships across the Iron Curtain were at one of their lowest points. Russia's leaders were geriatric and had invaded Afghanistan – not the first or last to make that mistake – the US had dumped the amiable Jimmy Carter in favour of the equally amiable but more belligerent Ronald Reagan, egged on by the fierce Mrs. Thatcher in Britain, and everybody was facing economic recession. Read full article.

Europalia | Belgium

Europalia | Brussels | Belgium

Since 1969 Europalia has been presenting the rest of the world to Belgium. It runs every two years, starting in October of the odd number and finishing four months later at the end of the January in the even numbered year. It is not confined to any particular venue or even country, following the theme to wherever logic or artistic imperative takes it. “We always work with the most important venues in Belgium first,” says Koen Clement, the General Manager, “and we try to start with the venue and see how our theme fits in with their ideas – we don't impose an event like a hiring promoter.” Read full article.

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence | France

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence | Aix-en-Provence | France

“You know, there are elements of continuity. Aix is still an international opera festival in ambition, and it attracts an artistically informed audience. It seeks to renew the repertoire, to get out of artistic cliché, to use young casts, very creative directors and visual artists.”  Bernard Foccroulle. Read full article.

Festival Internacional de Teatro Clásico de Mérida | Spain

Festival Internacional de Teatro Clásico de Mérida | Mérida | Spain

In the sixty-five years since, the festival has grown and developed, not only in size but in artistic philosophy. There is plenty of Euripides, Sophocles, Plautus and Terence in Spanish translations of the original plays but the real focus is on how modern writers respond to the stories of the classical age. Read full article.

GIFT Festival | Georgia

Georgian International Festival of Arts in Honor of Michail Tumanishvili |Tbilisi | Georgia

The strands that weave the Georgia International Festival of Theatre together are big, bright and uncomfortable. They put theatre and dance firmly in a zone of argument that says an artistic question is always a political question, and one which will never be answered in platitudes. Read full article.

International Festival Sarajevo Winter | Bosnia & Herzegovina

International Festival Sarajevo Winter |  Sarajevo | Bosnia & Herzegovina

When the Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo and its surrounding mountains in 1984 they were followed immediately by an arts festival. There is nothing unusual in that. While sadly the cultural events never get the same degree of media attention as the athletics, it has always been the case that the arts accompany the Olympic Games, sometimes as an integrated part of the city's Olympic experience, sometimes as a bit of an afterthought. For the February 2018 Games in Pyeongchan, South Korea, the province of Gangwon is said to have a budget of €40 million for a cultural programme, starting on New Year's Eve. Read full article.

Israel Festival, Jerusalem | Israel

Israel Festival, Jerusalem | Jerusalem | Israel

Founded in 1961 establishing itself as Israel's premiere multi-disciplinary international festival. The Festival takes place annually in the spring, presenting outstanding international theatre performances, contemporary dance and classical music, along with outstanding original Israeli works and open to the public street performances. Hosting leading artists from around the world and engaging emerging and established Israeli artists, the Israel Festival provides an important platform for inter-cultural encounter and dialogue. Attended by over 35,000 people the Israel Festival is one of the city’s most important cultural assets, vital to a modern, dynamic and pluralistic Jerusalem. Read the full article.

Izmir International Festival | Turkey

Izmir International Festival | Izmir, Ephesus | Turkey

The cities that lie on the western coast of Anatolia are so ancient that you have to come through an awful lot of names of kingdoms and empires before you come to modern Izmir in ingénue Turkey. Homer was probably born there, at a time when the fall of Troy a little further north was no further back than the start of the Renaissance is to us. In his age Izmir was an independent city state, rather in the shadow of the more famous Ephesus eighty kilometres to the south, which had been the capital of the kingdom of Arzawa and by Homer's time was a member of the Greek Ionian League. Then the Lydian empire came, then the Persians and eventually Alexander the Great. Read full article.

Klarafestival | Belgium

KlaraFestival | Brussels | Belgium

Some festivals stay throughout their existence much as they were at the start. Others grow but keep their basic original structure. And some evolve, mutate, have children. Then, without leaving home, the children develop distinctive characters of their own. So it is with the Flanders Festival and its offspring, Klara.

 Flanders Festival is effectively an umbrella for independent programmes held in each of northern Belgium's major cities. Every town has its specially allotted time of year but the constituent cities also collaborate with each other so that there is a network effect. For the audience there is just a solid succession of high quality events. For the organisers there is individual focus and a degree of safety in numbers. Read full article.

Ljubljana Festival | Slovenia

Ljubljana Festival | Ljubljana | Slovenia

The capital of Slovenia is one of Europe's smallest, and the population of the whole of Slovenia is a million less than that of Madrid, but Ljubljana's festival is one of the longest established and now one of the most distinguished. It is to the city's great credit that, even in the first years of communist Yugoslavia, a festival was seen as an answer to its problems, not just a decorative add-on. Read full article.

Lucerne Festival | Switzerland

Lucerne Festival | Luzern | Switzerland

For Lucerne's festival 2018 sees an impressive list of anniversaries: eighty years since it was first held, thirty since an Easter festival was introduced to complement the traditional summer one, and twenty since Michael Haefliger took the helm as Director. Each of those anniversaries tells a story. Read full article.

SoNoRo Festival | Romania

SoNoRo FestivalBucharest, Timișoara ,Cluj, Brașov | Romania

SoNoRo is a quiet festival, not just because it concentrates on chamber music, but because it does not have a big news agenda or feature film back story. It did not start as an antidote to war, or as a way of drawing world attention to a forgotten city. Read full article.

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