‘Waiting as long as possible’ to decide on summer festivals, says Jambon

‘Waiting as long as possible’ to decide on summer festivals, says Jambon
Credit: Belga

The decision on whether festivals can be organised this summer will be delayed as long as possible, said Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon, who previously agreed an announcement would be made before the end of March.

He was questioned about the matter in the Flemish parliament by Senate Chamber President Stephanie D'Hose and Member of the Flemish Parliament Gustaaf Pelckmans on Thursday but didn't give concrete answers.

"If I can arrange with the sector that they can wait a little longer, then I would like to take all the time I have," Jambon said.

At the start of this year, Jambon agreed with the festival sector to decide by mid-March at the latest whether or not the summer festivals will be held this year after they were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.

He said he first wanted to get a clearer picture of the progress of the vaccination against Covid-19, but pressure from the sector is mounting, and organisers have urged the government to give them some perspective.

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Jambon added the government is waiting to see the results from the "test" events that are being planned in the Netherlands, which he said could be integrated in Belgium and would play an important role in what decision will be made.

These "practical testings of holding events" include audiences being arranged in different scenarios, refining the measures, and to find out what works to limit the risk of spreading the virus.

In the meantime, the first major Belgian music event, the metal festival Graspop, cancelled its 2021 edition because of uncertainties regarding the relaxing of measures.

Other festivals, including Rock Werchter, Tomorrowland, and Pukkelpop, are still waiting to hear the government’s decision.

Lauren Walker

The Brussels Times

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