EFA’s General Assembly 2021

7 June 2021

Last week, on 2 June, EFA Members came together for the 69th General Assembly of the European Festivals Association (EFA).

For the second time in a row, members had to meet online: 74 participants from 39 member organisations were present together with the many new members that had applied to join the association.

2020 was definitely a digital year! EFA had organised almost 30 online meetings between April and December that stimulated wide engagement; some of them gathering only members and a few guests (artists, sponsors…), others connecting festival makers to cities, but all contributed to creating a space for collective support, solidarity, and disseminating the voice of festivals.

Hundreds of artists and festivals already showed how they managed in a quick, impressive way. At the same time, we are witnessing many proposals, reactions, anticipations about the ‘new era’ and festivals’ readiness to be platforms for experimentation of new partnerships with artists, audiences and stakeholders including cities, sponsors, governments, institutions.”, said Jan Briers, President of EFA.

The financial results for 2020 were healthy at the end and the prospects for 2021 and 2022 are beginning to look more promising, thanks to new partnerships. EFA is at the head of a consortium bringing together the City of Bergen, Italiafestival, publiq, Summa Artium and EURACTIV in the (a)Live Now project. This project aims to link cities, tourism boards, media partners and academia to present local content on arts and arts festivals to audiences worldwide. EFA is also part of Perform Europe, a pilot scheme funded by the European Commission that supports experiments to make touring performing arts works in Creative Europe countries more sustainable and inclusive. It is co-initiated by a consortium of 5 organisations: IETM, Circostrada, EFA, European Dancehouse Network and Idea Consult.

As well as the legal and formal business, these assemblies are also occasions to get-together, to listen and exchange between peers. This is emphasised in the Catch Ups, the sessions dedicated to welcoming new members. They are composed of several brief conversations to help current members understand the history and priorities of their incoming colleagues.

The Summer Catch Up that took place within the General Assembly allowed EFA members to meet and get to know more about 8 new festivals and cultural organisations hoping to join the EFA community, for example, MÜPA Hungary, which took this opportunity to present its 2 new festival brands, Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks and Liszt Fest International Cultural Festival.

Combined with the 9 festivals that applied to be part of EFA during the Spring Catch Up, we are delighted to welcome colleagues from 17 organisations in all their variety: bringing to us their strengths, contributions and expectations. EFA is growing and gaining in diversity every day and members are looking forward to meeting physically again at the Arts Festivals Summit in Galway from 22 to 24 November 2021.

by Audrey Brisack

New ordinary members

1. Artlink Festival (Serbia) 
2. Cziffra Festival (Hungary) 
3. De Bijloke (Belgium) 
4. De Singel (Belgium) 
5. Divine Comedy Festival (Poland) 
6. Festival Dei Due Mondi (Italy)
7. Festival Internacional de Fotografía de Castilla y León, FIFCYL (Spain) 
8. Festival International de las Artes y la cultura de Castilla y Leon, FACYL (Spain)
9. Festival Udine Castello (Italy) 
10. Holland Festival (Netherlands)
11. O-Festival for Opera-Music-Theatre (Netherlands)
12. Teatro Aveirense (Portugal) 
13. Theatre City Budva (Montenegro)
14. Utrecht Early Music Festival (Netherlands)
15. Wonderfeel Festival (Netherlands) 

New collective and affiliate members

16. Festivals Edinburgh (UK)
17. IETM - International network for contemporary performing arts