AFS2024 Speakers

Jan Briers

President of the European Festivals Association, the Federation of Music Festivals in Flanders and Flanders Festival Ghent

A rebellious spirit in our organisation, in EFA: I have always promoted this, but of course, that is also what we want from each festival in each city, region, country. 
How to fill it in? Each of our festivals has a great artistic director/mentor; let’s give them all the power, all the means, to fulfill their dream, their task.
And yes, there is the yearly General Assemblee and Festival Summit of EFA, where we should listen to all their great ideas and …. take them with us at home!

As the President of the European Festivals Association, the Federation of Music Festivals in Flanders, and the Flanders Festival Ghent, Jan Briers has a clear mission: to foster connections that transcend borders and bring communities together. His deep belief in the power of festivals can be summarised in his own words: "Festivals are about creating bridges between people and their cultures, something our chaotic world needs now more than ever."

In his role as Representative of the International Flanders Festival (Brussels/Ghent), Jan Briers orchestrated an impressive array of 350 events spanning 36 cities and towns. His dedication to the music festival scene in Flanders is further exemplified by his ongoing role as the President of the Federation of Music Festivals in Flanders.

During his tenure as Vice-President of the European Festivals Association from 2004 to 2011, he championed collaboration within the festival realm, advocating for co-production, co-promotion, and co-sponsoring initiatives. Notably, he played a pivotal role in co-founding the Asian Association for Performing Arts Festivals (AAPAF) and was instrumental in organising the first joint conference between EFA and ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) in 2007, marking the 50th anniversary of the Flanders Festival. He became president of the European Festivals Association in September 2017.

Apart from his involvement in the festival world, Jan served as the Governor of the East-Flanders province from 2013 until 2018. He is currently a respected member of the Belgian Federal Parliament. His multifaceted career reflects a deep commitment to the public and an unwavering pursuit of cultural enrichment through festivals.

Jan Briers is not just a leader; he is a cultural ambassador, a visionary bridge-builder, and a passionate advocate for the arts. His work embodies the spirit of unity and cultural exchange, making festivals a beacon of hope in our interconnected world.

Jan Briers