European Festivals Association (EFA) sets the Bergen Agenda

The European Festivals Association (EFA) celebrated its 60th anniversary with a Jubilee Gala from 23-25 May 2012 in Bergen, Norway. Debate was shaped by 180 participants from 46 countries and regions in the world, by delegates from sister festival networks from Africa, Asia and the Arab region, by Alumni of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, and by politicians of EU, national and local levels.
Topics such as innovation, business and audience participation in digital times are feeding into the Bergen Agenda which is to characterise EFAs work in the years to come. Furthermore, the Association released its Jubilee publication and first film entitled 60 Years On: Festivals and the World and admitted five new members. The gathering saw many festive highlights including an artistic closing moment with Carte Blanche.
The Bergen Agenda
In his opening speech on behalf of the 15 EFA founding members, Michael Haefliger, Director Lucerne Festival, introduced some of the key issues of the Bergen Agenda: "The powers we use must not be destructive, but the question of breaking with our traditions is one of the most essential ones in our artistic community. And it is exactly here and at this very point where the arts, the artists and each one of us can perhaps play their most important role: on the one hand by forming a strong agenda but, on the other hand, by strengthening awareness of the power of the arts."
Next to the discussion and definition of key topics innovation, festivals and business, audience participation and citizenship in digital times one of the main results was the agreement on joining efforts in a coalition of: EFA members, sister festival networks such as the African Festival Association AFRIFESTNET, the Association of Asian Performing Arts Festivals (AAPAF), FestArab, alumni of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, as well as cultural networks and organisations such as the European House for Culture, A Soul for Europe and the Access to Culture Platform, co-producers of the Jubilee Conference.
Political decision-makers including Doris Pack, Chairwoman Culture Committee European Parliament, Jan Truszczynski, Director General European Commission, Xavier Troussard, Head of Unit European Commission, Kjersti Stenseng, State Secretary for Minister of Culture, and Trude Drevland, Mayor of Bergen, discussed the role of festivals in local, regional, European and global development in the framework of the European Agenda for Culture and EFAs proposal 'Europe for Festivals - Festivals for Europe'. It was underlined that all levels have to engage and that it is key that the EU Member States commit.

60 Years On publication and film

"Together, the Jubilee publication and film compile a mosaic of the European Festivals Association in 60 years of history in Europe, and of course of 60 years of festivals as platforms for artistic creation and social actions deeply rooted in society, says EFA President Darko Brlek.
In the Jubilee publication, 30 authors partners from sister networks, festivals and supporters from across the globe present their visions for 60 years on: Franco Bianchini, Jan Briers, Darko Brlek, Hugo De Greef, Frans de Ruiter, Kathrin Deventer, Jelle Dierickx, Bernard Foccroulle, Enrique Gamez, Ching-Lee Goh, Marie Gouy, Gavin Henderson, Henk Heuvelmans, Peter Inkei, Nora Joumblatt, Gintautas Kevisas, Tamás Klenjánszky, Salvatore Marra, Manuel Martin, Christopher Maughan, Jonathan Mills, Pińeiro Nagy, Dusan Sidjanski, Jacqueline Steels, Galin Stoev, Ary Sutedja, Yossi Tal-Gan, Daniël Termont, Mike Van Graan and Biljana Zdravkovic.
Accompanied by compositions of Ennio Morricone and André Feldhaus, the first EFA film features statements of Herman Van Rompuy, President European Council; José Manuel Barroso, President European Commission; Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth; and Doris Pack, Chair of the Culture Committee European Parliament; as well as Darko Brlek, EFA President, Artistic and General Director Ljubljana Festival; Frans de Ruiter, Director Conservatory The Hague, President European House for Culture; Hugo De Greef, Co-Founder European House for Culture, former EFA Secretary General; Yossi Tal-Gan, Director Israel Festival, Jerusalem; Premil Petrovic, Conductor; Tamás Klenjánszky, Former EFA Secretary General; Robyn Archer, Creative Director Centenary of Canberra (2013), Artist; and Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General. It was realised by Editor-in-Chief Nadin Deventer and Editor Oliver Taranczewski.

Enlargement of the Association Opening up to the world

Five new members from five countries joined the Association, increasing EFA's membership to 111 members from 42 countries and extending in particular its activities outside European borders:
National Arts Festival Grahamstown (South Africa); Beirut Chants Festival of Sacred Music (Lebanon); European Festival of Performing Arts Timisoara New Romanian Drama Festival (Romania); Malta Arts Festival (Malta); and Swissfestivals (Switzerland).

EFA 60 Years On brought to life

The 2012 Jubilee Gala, hosted and co-organised by the Bergen International Festival, was concluded with an intervention by Jelle Meander, poet, Simon Mundy, poet, and Carte Blanche, the Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance. From now on, EFA members will increase visibility by dedicating events in their 2012 festival editions to the Jubilee. Information on all related activities by EFA and its members can be found at www.efa-aef.eu/efa60.
Note: An exclusive inside report about the EFA conference in Bergen will be published next week in our Arts Management Newsletter.

European Festivals Association
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