Join the European Festivals Association (EFA) in 2016

17 December 2015

The European Festivals Association (EFA) is inviting festivals to join the Association in 2016. Membership in EFA means for festivals to have exclusive access and direct contact to a core group of 100 festivals from Europe and beyond that has been working together, networking, co-presenting and co-producing since the launch of the Association back in 1952, and to benefit from a wide range of activities and initiatives. 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.

Festivals have been working across borders and cultures since the dawn of festivals, before Europe was a project of unity, before Europe was a space that aimed to facilitate cross-border exchanges. EFA brings festivals together to inspire one another, fosters an exchange of knowledge, helps festivals to speak with one strong voice to shape policy developments, increases networking opportunities, and keeps festivals informed about issues at stake in the festival and cultural world, all under the flag of artistic excellence and internationalisation.

What's in it for you?

As part of your membership package, EFA offers you a free annual General Assembly and a members-only conference – not only an exclusive networking moment allowing more than 100 festival colleagues to meet, exchange, share, discover, and build trust, but also an opportunity to benefit from high-level contacts and dialogue.

Furthermore, EFA members can have very easy access to training opportunities of The Festival Academy, such as the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, the most appreciated training programme for festivals’ artistic programme staff members.

EFA is also a platform for contacts to European political decision-makers. Regular exchanges and negotiations with the European Commission, the European Parliament are driven by the policy accents provided by EFA members. An annual exclusive meeting with the European Commissioner for Culture and EFA members helps the festival sector in Europe to underline its importance. EFA members set the agenda for all these programmes.

EFA members enjoy extended networking and collaboration opportunities outside of Europe, as EFA is working with partner organisations such as AAPAF, the Association of Asian Performing Arts Festivals, and the African Festival Network AFRIFESTNET. In this framework, EFA is organising exclusive visits of colleagues across the globe on a regular basis, for instance, in 2015, to Chiang Mai, Thailand and Shanghai, China.

Two core initiatives at a glance

EFA knows that festivals need visibility and exchanges. One way to guarantee this is to make sure everyone knows which festivals are doing the most exciting and innovative work. Therefore, EFA created EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe, which, after the pilot edition 2014-2015, unites 760 of Europe’s best festivals to audiences across the continent and beyond. Furthermore, EFA invites festivals to join the EFFE Community online, EFFE's online portal that connects and is open to all festivals, professionals, and press representatives interested in festivals. The recent partnership with the Google Cultural Institute ensures further access to festivals thanks to online exhibitions that allow for a unique interactive experience of performing arts, drama, dance, music, opera and more. EFA and EFFE are among the first of the world’s foremost cultural institutions that have teamed up with Google to ensure greater access to culture.

The Festival Academy is an initiative of EFA that offers various training formats on festival management to young, dynamic and passionate festival makers worldwide. Its mission is to share, exchange and construct know-how on festival management focusing on the essence of festivals – the art and the artist and touching upon all artistic disciplines. In this way The Festival Academy means to develop and sustain a network of festival leaders of the future. The Alumni Network counts today 335 early career professionals from more than 60 countries.

Concrete next opportunities for members include participating in:

  • EFA General Assembly and Conference in Wroclaw, Poland, 14-17 April 2016, in collaboration with the newly opened National Forum of Music, organiser of the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans
  • Atelier for Young Festival Manager in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 1-7 December 2016, in collaboration with Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau

EFA President Darko Brlek (Ljubljana Festival) stresses: “EFA has been uniting festivals from Europe and beyond for almost 65 years. Our members are the core element that makes the network a unique place for any festival that wants to be part of a bigger festival community. In particular in these times of global challenges and changes, EFA can offer a community of trust, solidarity and learning through its ever expending network of festivals and cultural organisations collaborating across borders and arts disciplines.”

How to join?

According to the EFA Statutes, the General Assembly is the formal body to approve applicant festivals. Interested festivals should submit their application as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2016. Applicant festivals will be invited to attend the 2016 General Assembly in Wroclaw, Poland which will be a unique moment to meet EFA’s festival community.

Learn more about why EFA members think it is important to be part of the Festival Network; find out why we do what we do, how we do it, and what exactly we do to benefit each single member as well as the festival sector as a whole. Please find the application form and official documents here