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Supporting the Festival Industry from Brussels.

Andy Robertson

For anyone working in the festival sector there are numerous support networks and associations that provide a focal point for initiatives that can benefit the industry. Most of these organisations are generally country specific but there is an association that provides coverage for the whole of Europe, the European Festivals Association (EFA).

The European Festivals Association (EFA) is based in Brussels, Belgium and has been around since 1952 supporting all festival types whether its music, dance, theatre or multidisciplinary arts festivals. Their membership is wide and diverse and includes both individual festivals and country specific festival associations representing 40 countries. The EFA seeks to support and enable artistic creation, production and participation with a community dedicated to the arts, the artists, and audiences. Some of the key initiatives the EFA are involved with include: 

The Festival Academy. 
This initiative exists to nurture the future workers of the industry through sharing, exchanging and constructing know-how on festival management. They offer 3 tiers of training that include: 
Atelier for Young Professionals aims to provide a full time 7-day course with experienced festival directors from festivals worldwide to accompany participants. The course includes workshops, lectures, dialogues, debates and cultural outings to address the artistic aspects of festival management. 
Festival Production Management is for more experienced professional who are looking to further their career with a course that focuses on production management with a focus on artistic management. This course includes placement at a festival and is spread over one or more year(s). 
Festival Readings is 3 days of lectures from high-level speakers from the festival sector on their experience in managing festivals. 

Knowledge Centre. 
The EFA manage a library of data and papers on just about every aspect of the festival industry and includes cases studies, books, workshop reports, essay studies, speeches and theses for example.

COVID-19 Won't Stop Us.
This initiative provides members with country-by-country analysis and updates on just about any COVID-19 related policy and issue relevant to the festival sector. They provide toolkits, guidance and planning guides for restarting and managing events after COVID-19. The content is constantly updated in line with each country’s changing COVID-19 policies.

This is just a selection of some of the interesting initiatives offered by the EFA to support and promote the festival industry throughout Europe. Membership starts at €2450 as an annual fee and will vary depending on the size and structure of the applying organisation. Whether or not membership is good value for money will depend on the size of the festival or association and any festival that already belongs to an in-country association may find that organisation is already a member. Any large organisation investing in their staff development will surely find their Festival Academy Initiative worth further investigation. 

For music festival organisers planning their future events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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