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France approves summer festivals, Belgium still undecided

Credit: Belga

While France announced that open-air festivals will be able to take place in a limited capacity this summer, organisers in Belgium are still waiting for a decision.

Summer festivals can take place in France under the conditions that no more than 5,000 people attend, and everyone remains seated. The social distance measures will still have to be respected, so standing up and dancing will be prohibited.

More specific rules have not been laid out yet, and it is currently still uncertain whether bar and restaurant areas will be allowed to open, according to French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot.

In Belgium, no decision has been made yet, and while many organisers are still waiting for clarity, they are also hoping that festivals will be able to take place at full capacity.

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In January, Flemish Culture Minister Jan Jambon told the Flemish Parliament that he had agreed with the festival sector that a decision on whether or not summer festivals could be organised this year would be lade by mid-March at the latest.

However, virologist Marc Van Ranst already said that organising summer festivals like Tomorrowland, Pukkelpop or Rock Werchter like in 2019, with tens of thousands of people coming together from across the whole world, is “impossible” at this point.

“If the industry is asking today to be able to organise mass events at full capacity this summer, the answer can only be ‘no’,” he said last week. “It is up to politicians to decide in the end, but the question is not realistic today.”

Measures for the culture and events sector will be discussed at the next Consultative Committee meeting on 26 February, where the authorities will look into a roadmap on how to handle the next phases of the pandemic.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times