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Coronavirus: great blur for culture

by drbyos

Stick to each other, dance tightly, vibrate and hover all together facing a stage. It’s not really in tune with the times. Now, in the air, there is potentially coronavirus. Gatherings of over 5,000 people in “Confined environment” have been banned since this weekend. Potential double penalty that the Minister of Health’s announcement on Saturday to limit the spread of the virus: keep his distance and be bored. In France, 97 rooms have a capacity of more than 5,000 people and are therefore potentially affected.

The next day, Sunday, Franck Riester invited a performing arts professionals meeting to a crisis meeting at the Ministry of Culture while the Agricultural Show gave up on his last day, Strasbourg on its carnival and the hip-hop competition Just standing , at the AccorHotels Arena, its spectators… Canceled the Paris half-marathon, like the Book Fair, Porte de Vincennes, the Paris Manga show, Porte de Versailles, or even the concert by Maitre Gims, on March 7, at the Zenith in Nantes. Cancellations are falling on Sunday on social media, and in the end it is raining. They are indexed to the occupancy rate of the rooms. The first victims are therefore due to their success. The concerts of James Blunt, Christophe Mahé are maintained. Concern about Matt Pokora’s tour. The Ministry of Culture charges the National Music Center (CNM), an institution born on 1st january, from “Identify cancellations, attendance and declining bookings to measure the impact in order to support businesses in difficulty, they explain in the entourage of the minister. Professionals wonder about the risk of going to stage 3 of the epidemic. A calendar would comfort them but it is impossible. We are day to day. ”


Above all, the professionals wanted a clear instruction, applied everywhere in the same way. “Cancellations and postponements are made on a case-by-case basis, for lack of a national legal framework, of ministerial decree. Nothing came out apart from a press release that the prefectures declare by decree as they see fit. Three have done so far. In the North, any gathering of more than 5,000 people is prohibited until March 14. Elsewhere, it is a case by case, an arrest by demonstration “, laments Malika Séguineau, director general of Prodiss, (producer union representing 80% of the sector). For lack of a “Consistent framework”, “Professionals wait, without knowing whether or not they will be impacted. Knowing that canceling the day before for the next day, when the teams are already there, is much more expensive. I have hourly calls from worried producers wondering what to do “, she describes. Ninho’s concert on March 12 in Bercy? Tickets are still on sale (Tuesday afternoon). However, the day before, his turner Pierre-Alexandre Vertadier from Décibels productions estimated that he “A priori would not take place”. What if he lets in only the first 5,000? “It would be frustrating and playing at a loss”, he sweeps. Six to eight Decibels productions concerts are on the hot seat, “We try not to cancel but to postpone. The problem is: when? Everything will be booked and we don’t know when the epidemic will end. We are dependent on political decisions, we can only wait “, explains Pierre-Alexandre Vertadier.

“Anxiety inducing”

At the Printemps de Bourges, the press secretary picks up her phone with a creaky “Hello coronavirus emergency!” Stage 3 of saturation. The festival takes place from April 21 to 26, “We are concerned without being”, coward Joséphine Roussel, “we only have one space that can accommodate 8000 people and it’s a marquee open on the sides “. The marquee: confined or not? This is the question of the staff. “No one is currently able to give us answers. So everything is maintained as expected and we cross our fingers. Right now, it’s mostly people’s worries that could do damage to the culture sector. ”

Prodiss demands a deadline, even if it is postponed, to extend the restrictions from week to week. “A ban” until further notice “is alarming for the public. The effect on ticketing is immediate “, continues Malika Séguineau. Prodiss reports a 40% drop in ticket sales for all shows, while the period of March and April, rich in concerts before the festival season, is crucial for producers. The loss could amount to 250 million euros if the restrictions lasted these two months, evaluates Prodiss. “80% of the structures are VSEs, already shaken by the crisis of yellow vests, strikes. Some could not get up, especially if we touch gatherings below the bar of 5000 people, then theaters, cabarets would be affected. It is the social bond on the territories which is threatened “, worries the director of Prodiss, received this morning in Bercy alongside other representatives of economic sectors suffering from the progression of the Covid-19. Cultural players have asked to be specifically supported, with the establishment of an emergency fund and advanced reimbursement of the tax credit enjoyed by the performing arts sector.

Noémie Rousseau


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