French festival pays price as security burden increases

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French festival pays price as security burden increases
The fete de la musique in Marseille has been postponed this year. Photo: AFP

The much-celebrated Festival of Music in France is paying the price as football takes over and the security burden becomes ever greater.


France remains in an official state of emergency, and security measures have recently been further tested by violent football hooligans causing problems in Marseille and Lille.

This has begun to have repercussions for cultural events across the country.

The upcoming annual Fête de la Musique (Festival of music), held on June 21st each year, should be a welcome and refreshing revival of positivity and fun across the country, after many difficult and challenging months.

Except for the fact that celebrations are having to be postponed and cancelled across the country, which is putting a dampener on the hugely popular annual festival.

The Mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin announced Monday that the Fête de la Musique would have to be postponed by two days.

The decision was taken as Poland play Ukraine on June 21st in Marseille and the fixture is considered high risk by police, given the threat of hooliganism.

Marseille witnessed horrendous scenes of violence in the city before during and after England played Russia there on June 11th.

A large part of the festival traditionally take place on the streets, which in light of recent incidents and violence is no longer considered safe.

This will come as disappointing news to the people of Marseille, who have already been considerably inconvenienced by the football.

The music and sports festival that takes place each year on the beach of Marseille, the Sosh freestyle cup, has also had its date pushed back, with fears of repercussions of hosting it on the same beach where the Fanzone currently is.

Anne-Marie d'Estienne d'Orves, who is in charge of cultural action in Marseille said: “It is certain that we do not advise large-scale gatherings and it is logical that the Sosh freestyle cup concert should be postponed’.

Similarly, the annual free concert held in Paris at La Place Denfert-Rochereau has been cancelled, as French security for the Stadiums is prioritized.

Organizer Ricard S. A Live Music announced the disappointing news on their site:

“It has been decided that the concert has to be cancelled, in accordance with the important mobilization of security forces for the protection of stadiums and fan zones”.

There may be more cancellations and postponements to come.

Let's hope that the Tour de France, which is the next major sporting event in France, will not bring about quite the same display of abysmal behaviour that the football has and that the country will not have to suffer the repercussions in quite the same way.


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