European independent festival association Yourope says the continent’s immensely important festival industry needs clear guidelines, coherent timeframes, reliable planning and a financial bailout plan in order for it to bounce back. 

Now the time has come to develop a strategy for 2021’s summer of events. We owe it to the millions of visitors who have trusted us enough not to return their tickets, to our many thousands of staff and contractors, to big-time and lesser-known artists, and to our suppliers to preserve the cultural diversity we have created as event organisers.

Under what circumstances can Europe’s festivals take place again under regular conditions?
2021 is not 2020. We have better treatment options and testing is becoming more and more advanced. The process of vaccination has already begun. Combine this with the fact that cases are expected to decrease considerably in the summer months, we find ourselves in a different starting situation – one that poses the following questions:

  • Can festival organisers expect to be able to hold their events as normal and at full capacity, provided they ensure that additional protective measures are in place?
  • What measures will they need to take in terms of guests, staff and suppliers?
  • Will international artists be allowed to travel as needed?

Clear guidelines, coherent timeframes and reliable planning
For 2021’s summer of festivals to go ahead, we need to use February to gain as much clarity as possible until the end of February, get a transparent roadmap from the authorities, and develop a strategy with clearly defined parameters to ensure that we can host events safely while also operating at full capacity under our normal and, as far as possible, standardised conditions. A big event can be as safe as our day-to-day lives!

Financial bailout
To secure the future of the festivals that have become such a great tradition across Europe, there must be access to a financial bailout if an organiser has to cancel or change the way their event takes place due to stricter anti-coronavirus measures being implemented that make carrying out the event as normal no longer economically viable. Without this bailout, planning these events becomes a forlorn hope and will grind to a halt, as our badly battered and bruised industry can no longer bear the weight of these scarcely predictable risks alongside their normal financial risks alone.

Relaxing measures with proportionality and cooperation
We call on the principle of proportionality: if the main health goals are achieved, measures should in turn be relaxed sensibly and proportionately. In order to implement concepts and measures properly, we need central points of contact with whom we can discuss the issues involved in a constructive and purposeful way. It is important to utilise the expertise of the national and international concert and festival industry.