Coronavirus: Antwerp’s summer festival will go forward in July
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    Coronavirus: Antwerp’s summer festival will go forward in July

    Credit: Sigrid Spinnox for Zomer van Antwerpen/Facebook

    Antwerp’s annual music and arts summer festival will be able to go forward this year, organisers said after leaders announced a new round of lockdown relaxations on Wednesday.

    Organisers of Zomer van Antwerpen (ZVA) had been holding out on a potential cancellation in anticipation of Wednesday’s National Security Council meeting.

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    The latest round of relaxations said all cultural activities with a maximum of 200 attendants could go forward from 1 July, an announcement welcomed by organiser Patrick De Groote.

    “We are happy to have clarity now,” De Groote told HLN, adding that festival staff had lately been working on different scenarios for the annual festivities to go forward, even with a reduced public.

    The festival has taken place each July and August in the Flemish city since 1995, drawing large crowds to concerts film screenings, circus shows and theatre performances.

    De Groote said that the figure of 200 attendants maximum remained “feasible” even if it meant sacrificing some acts planned for larger audiences, such as a circus show inside a tent with capacity for 900.

    Organised by the city, the festival draws hundreds of thousands of people to Antwerp each year, as well as artists and performers from abroad, whose presence at this year’s edition remained dependent on whether plans to reopen Belgium’s borders on 15 were upheld.

    News that the ZVA will be maintained comes after another major Flemish festival, the Gentse Feesten, announced mid-April that it would drop this year’s edition, originally slated for mid-July.

    The Brussels Times