EFA newsletter FestFlash 2/2014: While waiting for one’s festival

2 July 2014

Many festivals around Europe have already kicked off their 2014 editions; even more festivals are still to open their doors to their audiences. For those of you who are curiously waiting for their favourite festival to start, like our blogger Hasan Isikli from Izmir, we invite you to explore some festival issues together with EFA’s bloggers on Festival Bytes. Albert Edelman shares with us his vision of an ideal festival. Kathrin Deventer allows some insights into what happens when you invite composers for a real co-creation process during which their compositions are open for discussion and criticism. Ceyda Berk embarks on a journey from the 'Temple of Artemis' to 'A Rose for Lilly', looking at festival venues, from ancient buildings to a modern concert hall. Eva Nunes discusses the role of arts and culture in times of conflict. Jelle Dierickx dives into the cultural scene of a remarkable city, the city of Sarajevo. And Steve Austen talks about trends in the Dutch festival landscape.

Enjoy our festival stories and get in touch if you have a story of your own to tell!

Waiting for one’s festival

[By Hasan Isikli] Festivals are people’s desires. Everybody awaits their festival for a whole year while the daily life continues with its regular sorrows, worries, happiness, anger and frequently apathy. When the festival starts it’s the time of Dionysos: the pleasure, folly, surprise and new sensations. For the sake of being respected in society this part of humans is usually repressed due to one’s cultural codes. Hence, one’s festival is the duration when the subjects reconnect to their social and physical environment by new discoveries and by multiplying their perception. Some people await a wedding of a relative so that they can see other members of the family and friends. Some people wait for a carnival where they enjoy themselves and get involved in a city’s tradition that transfers its values from old generations to the new ones. And other people wait for their art festivals of which they expect new surprises and discoveries each time. I am one of those waiting for an art festival: the International Izmir Festival, called İzmir Festivali by the locals. Continue reading!

That old festival feeling

[By Albert Edelman] The early music movement – that is: a way of looking at repertoire with an open and informed eye to the context of the work’s creation and reception, taking into account instruments, performance practice, among other things – really got going thanks to festivals. Bruges, Utrecht, Antwerp and Boston, to name but a few, have long operated as showcases for the latest research, the wildest experiments and, over time, the biggest names they themselves had helped grow. And this was long before music from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and often even the Baroque became fashionable on ‘regular’ stages as it is now. Continue reading!

Composing life

[By Kathrin Deventer] Following a concert in the framework of MusMA (Music Masters on Air), the European Broadcasting Festival at the KlaraFestival in Brussels in March this year, the next event of MusMA took place in Ankara from 24-27 April, at the occasion of the Ankara International Music Festival. In four days and with five intense workshop sessions and two concerts, a stage was set for new compositions and composers to meet, exchange, and present their work: Can Bekir Bilir (proposed by the Ankara International Music Festival, Turkey), Orazio Sciortino (proposed by the Emilia Romagna Festival, Italy), Daan Janssens (proposed by the KlaraFestival, Belgium); Adrien Tsilogiannis (proposed by the Festival de Wallonie, Belgium), Mikolaj Majkusiak (proposed by the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans, Poland), and Jani Golob (proposed by the Ljubljana Festival, Slovenia). Continue reading!

From the ‘Temple of Artemis’ to ‘A Rose for Lilly’

[By Ceyda Berk] The sanctuary instinct of humans goes back to the dark corridors of existence. Not only for the sake of sheltering do humans build, but to reveal the mystery of immortality. Despite our tendency to destroy, we – ironically – also know how to revive deserted spaces. The human race, confronting the spectacular temples that were constructed ages ago, marvels at its own capacity, doesn’t it? As an Izmirian, as somebody living in a 8500-year-old city on the west coast of Anatolia, right in the middle of heritage of – what we call – civilizations, it is easy to say “yes”. Continue reading!

Culture and conflict: hope and optimism in times of darkness

[By Eva Nunes] On 13 May 2014, the European Festivals Association (EFA) was delighted to welcome the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), and Sir Jonathan Mills, to what has become a tradition: to present the year’s festival programme in Belgium. As EFA Secretary General Kathrin Deventer stated, “it is a great opportunity for us to share the relevance of an artistic programme with the audience, artists, festival directors and policy makers.” Continue reading!

Sarajevo 2014: Reading the Signs

[By Jelle Dierickx] Many hills and buildings of all kind, partly hidden in mist. That’s the first impression of Sarajevo seen from the airplane. Once landed chaos rules. People have taken way too many suitcases, they are already packing while the plane is still hovering to its final position and the stewards are lost in translation. It will be fun in Sarajevo, that’s clear. For many West-Europeans, Sarajevo is a blind dot. Everybody was talking about the city in 1984 (the Winter Olympics) and in the early nineties (the war Europe should be ashamed of in every possible sense). Not many know about the metamorphosis the city went through in the twenty years since. And it will probably go through many more changes during the next decades. Continue reading!

From Festival of Fools to new trends in the festival landscape

[By Steve Austen] The past few months were rough for the Felix Meritis Foundation in Amsterdam. The Foundation went bankrupt in February this year due to a conflict of interest between the landlord and the Foundation. For quite a while there didn’t seem to be a clear future for the cultural house. After de Gemeente had bought the building for 5.3 million euros to take over the responsibilities from the owners of the building, a new foundation was established: Genootschap Felix Meritis / Felix Meritis Foundation will continue the activities and (international) projects of Felix Meritis. EFA is glad about these recent developments, and would like to share some insights into one of the last events with a focus on new trends in festivals. Continue reading!

For more festival news, download the FestFlash 2/2014 (July 2014).

The European Festivals Association’s 2014 FestFlash series brings news from the world of festivals. EFA thanks its bloggers writing for Festival Bytes for their rich insights into the life of festivals all over the world. More festival stories are shared by the authors of the EFA BOOKS series which are available on the EFA eShop.

Subscribe to EFA’s FestFlash now!