Jazz in Marciac, one of the biggest festivals in France, will not take place as planned from July 24 to August 15. The 43rd edition is canceled due to the coronavirus. The festival attracts nearly 250,000 visitors for three weeks each summer. The blow is very hard for the Gers economy and the world of culture.
We sensed it, we feared it. The news fell on Wednesday evening: Jazz in Marciac cancels its 43rd edition which was to take place from July 24 to August 15. In a press release published on the Facebook page of the Jazz in Marciac association, President Jean-Louis Guilhaumon explains the reasons for the decision made by the board of directors.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the decision voted by the Jazz in Marciac Board of Directors on April 21, to cancel the 43rd edition of the festival which was to take place from July 24 to August 15, 2020. An inevitable decision after the words of the President of the Republic indicating that “major festivals and events with a large audience cannot be held until at least mid-July next.” And those of the Prime Minister evoking, before the national representation, a deadline “up to the end of July”.
You will understand, this “at least” does not offer the visibility necessary to continue our work in order to welcome you, as every year, in the best conditions. The risks of all kinds are too great: a cancellation in the home stretch would compromise much more than an edition of the festival, it would jeopardize its very existence.
There are many obstacles in front of us. Closed, the borders of the Schengen area would prevent both hosting many artists and receiving essential equipment for the organization of concerts. Concerts, some of which are part of international tours that are compromised, or even canceled now.
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Other logistical problems arise. One example among others: under what conditions can the technicians who take part in the preparation of Jazz in Marciac from June work on the implementation of our infrastructures in strict compliance with the rules laid down by the State and how to receive them even when hotels and restaurants must remain closed?
Above all, there is the importance we attach to the health and safety of all
There is also the respect that we owe to all the actors of the festival. Whether they are spectators, artists, partners or volunteers, their involvement is based on a sometimes complex personal organization, which is reflected well in advance of the event. With so little certainty, how can we encourage all these people to prepare their arrival as if nothing had happened? Their disappointment would be commensurate with their commitment.
Finally, there is, above all, the importance we attach to the health and safety of all. At the time of writing, we do not know whether the health measures taken will return to normal life in the summer. Clearance from containment will be manifestly gradual.
Since the beginning of its history, jazz has brought together all the differences under its banner. It offers all audiences joy and comfort. We do not want to imagine a festival forbidden to this or that category of population.
We also do not want to pose the slightest danger to lovers of Jazz in Marciac. We are all too well aware of the global devastation caused by Covid-19. My most compassionate and warmest thoughts go out to all those close to his victims at this hour. I especially salute, with sincere affection, our sponsor Wynton whose father, the eminent pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr, died on April 1 following complications from the coronavirus.
In a word, all the elements of appreciation which we have to date place us clearly in a situation of force majeure which the State refuses to act, for reasons which escape us, thus putting in difficulty our structures which run the risk of no longer being able to exist in the future.
I am thinking today of all the links in this vast human chain which make it possible each year to create a festival whose reputation and attendance have grown steadily since its birth. Some of them had started working on the 43rd edition at the end of the previous one, in September 2019.
The field of culture, more than necessary, vital, is paying a heavy price for this epidemic
The cancellation of this long-awaited meeting will cause, I know, not only great frustration for many people but also profound difficulties. The more than necessary, vital area of culture is paying a heavy price for this epidemic.
A heavy price shared by other sectors because Jazz in Marciac constitutes a tremendous economic engine for the region. Restaurateurs, hoteliers, local producers, traders, artisans, rental companies, seasonal workers… As many professionals who will be affected by this cancellation, we can only deplore it.
I would like to salute them, as well as all the people who, in these trying times, have shown us their support and their loyalty in different ways. Making that decision is heartbreaking, I repeat, but I’m looking forward to meeting you next summer. I am sure: this postponed 43rd edition will only be more beautiful and more moving. We will measure more than ever the importance of being together, the happiness of sharing our passion.
In closing, I would like to pay tribute to the researchers and the nursing staff who, by fighting tirelessly against the harms of Covid-19, will help us find our bearings as soon as possible. Looking forward to this moment, thank you for your understanding. Take care of yourself and your loved ones: tomorrow awaits us “, concludes Jean-Louis Guilhaumon.
It’s official ud83d ude22
The 43rd festival of @Jazz_in_Marciac is canceled.
Great sadness and very harsh news for @ LeGers32
Friendship and support for Jean-Louis Guilhaumon and volunteers. We will be by your side next summer for a renaissance edition pic.twitter.com/6dARZMDLqv
– Philippe Martin (@ pmartin_32) April 22, 2020
This evening, the calendar of major summer festivals in the Gers has only two meetings, for the time being maintained: Tempo Latino in Vic-Fezensac and the astronomy festival of Fleurance.