Culture is like butter, the less there is the thinner it has to be spread. From now on, government bodies and the general public are just going to have to tighten up their belts and make do with less. Remember, just a few weeks ago when we issued a first warning on this subject, even Didier Super joined in. For his edition of L’Humanité published 14th April in collaboration with an extremely upset Philippe Torreton, chief editor for the day, a map of all the cancelled festivals, some definitively, was created. The most telling absence: no regional capital of culture, unless there’s an unexpected turn of events. An absence that indicates the extent of the damage. Coming soon..a funeral service? Well here’s hoping it isn’t quite that bad yet.
Didier Fusillier must be fuming, as he had maintained in 2012 that « the budget for culture, at a mere 0.87% of the overall state budget, scarcely takes a dent out of it. While it contributes to the image and standing of France far more than its considerably more costly football teams. There are more members of the public attending the theatre than are present in the stadium, without counting those visiting museums » (Le Figaro). He’s taken a blow to his ego or even two, because Maubeuge will neither be regional capital of culture 2015 as expected nor act as host to the antenna of the Pompidou Centre. Due to disagreements and misunderstandings, local cultural plans have been abruptly discarded. An abandon all the more cruel because it aborts all possibility of fruitful collaboration with the Belgian city of Mons, current European capital of culture. Note in passing that Didier Fusillier doesn’t always get his sums right : « Half the cost of cleaning the glass windows of the Louvre-Lens museum ». But he knows the price to pay for the « French Renaissance »…
This is a perfect example of budgetary restrictions applied recently without a scrap of commonsense by town councils to the detriment of certain cultural funding. Following hard on the heels of a drastic reduction in subsidies for the Théâtre de la Poche, next in line for cuts is Z’Arts Up. This street festival foots the bill for the separation between its organiser Culture Commune and the town hall. In spite of the 15 editions to its credit, this street art festival been given the chop, unbelievable!
Worse things happen at sea? The World Sea Film Festival, in spite of its reputation, has been jettisoned like so much unwanted cargo. Launched in 2011, this audiovisual highpoint won’t be handing out the Jean Bart award for best film in 2015. The reason? Lack of funding, as the official site announces frankly, while loyally refraining from placing the blame on anyone. The organisers haven’t quite given up the fight, so here’s the 2013 festival trailer…to savour as if it’s the one for 2016!
Film trailer for 2013 World Sea Film Festival
Note that Dunkirk, Béthune and Maubeuge have all been regional capital for culture. Doesn’t bode well for the rest.
The Corner Company in The Hope of St Corner, Hazebrouck
World Folklore Festival, Bray-Dunes
Les Rues Joyeuses Festival 2013
Zic-Zazou: and their recycled instruments
Titi Robinson, Trek Nfolk, Halluin 19th January 2013
Final point on the map, the regional association Domaines Musique, based in La Madeleine, has shut up shop after 25 years of activity in promoting cultural events, making nine employees redundant. Who’ll be next? According to an insider’s opinion, cuts could continue making ravages until 2017. Makes for a strange start to the festival season.
In closing, we may as well promote an initiative which arose in our region. Emeline Jersol, cultural affairs relations officer for Le Boulon, a national centre for street arts based in Vieux-Condé, has produced this crisis map, indicating the locations of over 143 cultural events which have been cancelled temporarily or definitively.
Translated by SafeTex
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