EFA Collective and Affiliate Members’ Meeting - Stockholm, 11-14 February 2010

18 December 2009

At the occasion of the fifth annual meeting of its collective and affiliate members that took place from 11 to 14 February 2010 in Stockholm at the invitation of Swedish Music Festivals (SMF), the European Festivals Association (EFA) launched its 2010 flagship project “Open The Door” ( The meeting entitled “Festivals – Increasing Access, Supporting Creativity” was dedicated to issues relating to access to culture. Different formats – including a public seminar and internal working sessions – explored the topic from a diversity of angels. At this occasion, 17 national festivals associations and cultural networks handed over a letter endorsing the ambitious 2010 project to the Swedish Cultural Ministry. During the public seminar, moderated by Swedish journalist and arts critic Sofia Nyblom, the following speakers engaged in a lively discussion: Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General; Steve Austen, Felix Meritis Foundation; Karin Dornbusch, clarinettist; Tuulikki Karjalainen, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival; Anders Hillborg, composer; Stefan Forsberg, Stockholm Concert Hall; and Börje Risinggård, festival visitor. Speakers and public agreed that festivals can raise awareness on a variety of (societal) issues through offering unique experiences to both artists and audiences. As Karin Dornbusch put it, in no other format can artists and audiences be so close. Relating to “Open-The-Door”, Kathrin Deventer stressed the aim of the 2010 project that offers the “opportunity for festivals to take up their role and play their part in this process.” Steve Austen iterated that in order to keep up with its success in creating these unique encounters, a festival constantly has to rethink itself. It has to provide a platform where a civic debate can take place and political issues be discusses. What’s more, a festival has to play its important role in achieving a true change of mindset of politicians and their approach towards arts and culture. Furthermore, it was underlined that it is key that festivals associations and networks make sure that the voice of arts, culture and festivals is heard. Networks at national and at European level have to convince political decision-making bodies about their important value in both societal and artistic terms. The EFA Collective and Affiliate Members’ Meeting (CAMM) is the platform for national festivals associations and European cultural networks to engage in a common advocacy work, stressed Kathrin Deventer. On a yearly basis, the CAMM brings together EFA’s 17 national festivals associations and cultural networks – representing altogether more than 1000 festivals and event organisations from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. In the framework of the “Open the Door” project, EFA dedicates a series of meetings to the topic and invites for a discussion on access to culture through festivals, such as the 2010 EFA General Assembly and Conference in Merano (8-11 April) and the 2010 Ars Nova Meeting in Brussels (26-28 March). What’s more, a dedicated newsletter will highlight best practices on a monthly basis. Follow the EFA website and the project website for latest news!