Re-opening of festivals in Europe and beyond

12 April 2021

Re-opening of festivals in Europe and beyond: Policies, examples and practices 

In this report presenting a brief overview per country, we asked the EFFE HUBS (EFA's national and regional contact points for the festivals that want to engage in the EFFE and festivals community, EFFE being the acronym for Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe community) how their country handled or is handling the re-opening of festivals: good practices developed and proposed by the sector to governments, as well as various governmental positions and proposals. 

In addition to the brief reports that we received on a short delay by the EFFE Hubs, we can resume that re-opening festivals strategies all include: 

  • Reduced audiences’ capacity
  • Flow of audiences to enter and leave the events but also to circulate within the festival
  • Quick testing stations before entering the festival performance
  • Site-specific performances and outdoor events instead of in hall and venues

You can also have a look at our COVID-19 portal page, collecting some information about the restart of culture and post COVID-19 protocols, etc.  

It is also important to underline that there are large differences from country to country depending on the governmental policy: in some countries, there is no perspective to open before 2022, hence the developed initiatives are limited. In other countries, the government invites the sector into this policy making dialogue to find the best ways to re-open festivals’ life.

Last but not least, the reality of arts and cultural festivals versus rather commercial and bigger scale festivals and events or rock and pop festivals is of course totally different. It seems much easier for arts and cultural festivals to re-open: as local arts and cultural events really emerge from a very local necessity – you get offered what you ‘need’ or you wish: audiences are demanding ‘their’ festivals to start again. 

Festivals often reach out to groups in society that otherwise would never attend arts and cultural activities: not just the elite, but reach out activities, educational activities, collaborations with local schools, hospitals, social centres etc. The urgency, the need for people to come together, to celebrate the arts in the community and friendship of other people, stayed and stays throughout COVID-19. Thus, the motivation to re-start seems quite spontaneous and natural. 

>>> Download the report: Re-opening of festivals in Europe and beyond <<<