EFA General Assembly kicks off tonight in Ostrava

4 June 2015

Tonight, the General Assembly of the European Festivals Association (EFA) will kick off in Ostrava, Czech Republic. It is hosted by the International Music Festival “Janáček May”, which celebrates its 40th jubilee in 2015. Until Sunday, 7 June some 100 festival directors representing 51 festivals in 26 countries will exchange, network, and explore the grounds for future collaboration. EFA and the International Music Festival “Janáček May” take this moment as an opportunity to underline the importance of international cooperation for the impact of cultural organisation at local level.

“I am delighted to welcome you to my home town, which has been organising the International Music Festival “Janáček May” for already 40 years. Despite its history of metal industry and mining, this town has always been a cultural centre, a place in which excellent dramatists, writers, painters and musicians created their works of art. Ostrava has lived and still lives a rich artistic and cultural life. I invite you to get to know and enjoy the town associated with one of our greatest composers of the 20th century – Leoš Janáček,” says Jaromír Javůrek, Director International Music Festival “Janáček May”.

EFA has been uniting distinguished music, dance, theatre and multidisciplinary arts festivals from Europe and beyond for more than 60 years. EFA’s members are the core element that make the Association an open, influential, international place for any festival that wants to be part of a bigger festival community.

“The gathering is an opportunity for festival delegates around the world to understand the various local contexts and circumstance in which festivals take place, to learn from the experiences and challenges of others. Ostrava provides a unique background for these discussions, as the city has achieved to develop a rich artistic and cultural life in a setting strongly influenced by its industrial past,” says Darko Brlek, President EFA.

The 4-day programme includes workshops, the formal General Assembly, meetings of The Festival Academy, as well as networking moments and a rich artistic and cultural programme as part of the International Music Festival “Janáček May”.

The official opening of EFA’s General Assembly will take place tonight at the Ostrava City Cultural Centre. Delegates will enjoy a concert of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonics, with Vasilij Petrenko (conductor) and Paul Lewis (piano) which is part of the programme of the International Music Festival “Janáček May”. On 5 June at the New City Hall of Ostrava, a joint press conference of the International Music Festival “Janáček May” and EFA will take place. Speakers include Ing. Tomáš Macura, MBA, Mayor of the City of Ostrava, Jaromír Javůrek, Director International Music Festival “Janáček May”, Darko Brlek, President EFA, and Kathrin Deventer, Secretary General EFA. I

On 6 June at Gong, during the formal General Assembly delegates will discuss EFA’s work programme. International guests include PhDr. Evžen Tošenovský, Member of the European Parliament; H.E. Mr. Narong Sasitorn, Ambassador of Thailand to the Czech Republic; H.E. Gunavibool Nopadol, Ambassador of Thailand to Belgium; Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Thailand; and Claus Hässig, Secretary General Grand Théâtre de Genève. The event will close with a cultural evening at Šilheřovice Chateau.

Ondřej Sikora, Project Manager Festival “Janáček May”, is looking forward to an enriching 4-day encounter. In his blog on Festival Bytes he say: “Since the first meeting with Kathrin Deventer in Ostrava, our whole team has been working hard to make the General Assembly in Ostrava an unforgettable event for all of the EFA members and guests who will come to our city. Therefore, we combined visions through words and together we came up with a pretty simple name: OSTREFA, the motto of the 2015 edition of EFA’s annual gathering.”