ILMC Journal, European Festival Report 2017

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The ILMC Journal, IQ, have published the European Festival Report for 2017. We have compiled some of their most important findings below.

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UK Entries Disqualified from Capital of Culture Bid

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Decision dashes hopes of cities such as Dundee and Leeds, which were preparing bids costing hundreds of thousands of pounds

The opening of Liverpool’s reign as European capital of culture in 2008.
The opening of Liverpool’s reign as European capital of culture in 2008. 

The EU will not allow a British city to become European capital of culture in 2023 after Brexit, dashing the hopes of Dundee, Leeds and others that were preparing bids costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The European commission said it would not be possible because only countries that were in the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) or in the process of becoming members were eligible for inclusion.


Britain had been due to have one of its cities designated European capital of culture, along with one in Hungary, in 2023.

Formal bids were submitted in October by Dundee, Nottingham, Leeds, Milton Keynes and a joint proposal from Belfast, Derry and Strabane.

Only two other UK cities – Glasgow and Liverpool – have previously been British recipients of the title, in 1990 and 2008 respectively. Liverpool estimated it generated a return of £750m to the local economy from £170m of spending.

After the commission ruled that the UK would not be allowed to bid for the designation in future, a spokesman for Theresa May said: “We disagree with the European commission’s decision and are particularly disappointed we have been informed of their new position after UK cities have submitted their final bids.

“We will be working closely with the five UK cities that have submitted bids to help them realise their cultural ambitions, and we remain in urgent discussions with the commission on the matter.”

Asked how the government could argue it was eligible when it would not be a member of the EU or EEA, or seeking the join the EU, the spokesman cited the examples of Reykjavik, one of the capitals of culture in 2000, Stavanger in Norway in 2008 and Istanbul in 2010.

However, Iceland and Norway are EEA members, while Turkey began negotiations on membership in 2005. Asked about this, the spokesman referred the question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Asked why the No 10 statement referred to the commission’s “new” position, and how it had changed, the spokesman also referred this to the DCMS.

It is understood the culture department is annoyed because, despite the stated criteria, the commission had not previously raised objections to the British bids, even after the Brexit vote.

Under EU law, the UK government was obliged to launch the competition to find the candidate cities once in the process or face a possible fine.

Labour’s Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, said it was a “great shame” that the UK had been shunned in the European cultural competition when some cities had already spent up to £500,000 on their bid submissions.

“Being the capital of culture had a transformative effect in Glasgow and Liverpool, fuelling regeneration, tourism and community pride. That opportunity has now been taken away from the bidding cities.

“The government must now explain how they intend to ensure that Brexit does not leave us culturally isolated from Europe and how the economic and cultural benefits that accompany the European capital of culture will be maintained.”

The SNP said Dundee’s chances of becoming the European capital of culture had been ruined by the Conservatives’ plans for Brexit.

Chris Law, the MP for Dundee West, said he had “called for clarity on the impact the Tory Brexit would have on the bid over a year ago and it’s not good enough that we’ve waited a year for this bad news”.

Iain Stewart, the Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South, said it seemed “a very bitter decision” by the commission as “we are not turning our backs on Europe, yet this looks like they are turning their backs on us”.

Valletta, Malta – Capital of Culture 2018

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Valletta was declared European Capital of Culture (ECoC) on the 12th October 2012. The Valletta 2018 Foundation was responsible for compiling the bid for Valletta as an ECoC and is in charge of implementing the project.

Valletta will be hosting the title of European Capital of Culture in 2018 with a partner Dutch city, Leeuwarden. The ECoC includes all the Maltese Islands, with an aim to spread its impact throughout the whole Maltese territory.

So let’s take a look at the Maltese capital.

History of Valletta

After the Great Siege of 1565, the Knights set about an ambitious project, the building of Valletta, the so-called ‘city built by gentlemen for gentlemen’. Pope Pius IV sent his foremost engineer, Francesco Laparelli, to build the city both as a fortress to defend Christendom and as a cultural masterpiece. A unique example of the Baroque, Valletta has been designated a World Heritage City.

In its day, Valletta was a fine example of modern city planning. Designed on a grid system, now common in the United States, the city was carefully planned to accommodate water and sanitation and to allow for the circulation of air. Most towns and cities evolved over centuries, but Valletta, in contrast, was one of the first European cities to be constructed on an entirely new site.

Grand Master Jean de la ValletteFrancesco Laparelli left the completion of Valletta to his assistant, the Maltese, Gerolamo Cassar (1520-92), who had studied in Rome. Cassar’s masterpiece is the Co-Cathedral of St. John.

The magnificent, baroque interior was the later work of the Calabrian artist and knight, Mattia Preti (1613-99). The first baroque buildings to be designed in Valletta were the work of an Italian architect from Lucca, Francesco Buonamici, the Knights’ resident engineer from 1634-59, assisted by the Italian military architect Floriani. He not only extended the fortifications to Floriana, but designed churches for Valletta, Rabat and Ħaż-Żebbuġ.

Getting Around in Valletta

Unlike other European capitals, which grew from small settlements into villages, towns and eventually cities, Valletta was built on a plan. Highly advanced for the time, the Valletta city plan was based on a grid system – a bit like modern-day Manhattan – with parallel streets criss-crossed at right angles. This makes the Maltese capital very easy to navigate.

Valletta is small in size, and it is quite possible for most people to explore the whole city on foot. Get hold of a good street map – or use the one on your mobile device – and you can get around town without any problem. However, do keep in mind that Valletta is quite hilly, and some streets dip rather steeply towards the harbour. Luckily, the original town-planners thought of minimising discomfort for walkers by introducing steps on the steeper streets.

Auberge de Castille in VallettaIt is also quite possible to cycle around the city, although cyclists should be wary of the sloping streets and the fact that cycle lanes are somewhat rare.

Driving in the city can be a little problematic, especially when it comes to negotiating tight corners and one-way streets. Parking is also limited, because in addition to the resident population, many more drive into the city for business. So it is recommended that you use one of the car-parks located outlide the city and then walk or use public transport. There is an efficient Park-and-Ride service in Floriana with regular shuttle buses to and from Castille Place, at the top of Merchants Street.

Travelling to Valletta by public transport is easy. Many of the buses start and finish their journey at the Main Terminus just outside City Gate. The Malta Public Transport company also operates a convenient circular route around Valletta.

A system of electric cabs is also in operation within Valletta. A romantic alternative is to use horse-drawn carriages known as Karozzin.

Whatever means of transport you choose to adopt, you will find that Valletta is highly accessible, and the locals are always eager to show you the way.

Capital Attractions

In Valletta, you will find some of the most fascinating places to visit and things to do whilst in the Maltese Islands.

For ideas and tips click here.

Istria’s “Sea Star” Wins Two Nominations for Best European Music Festival

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The festival in Umag was held for the first time this year. The winners of the award will be announced in January.

Having won over the region in its first edition, the Sea Star Festival has entered the race for the most prestigious festival awards in Europe. The Festival in Umag, in Istria, a member of the EXIT Festival Family, has been nominated as the best medium-sized festival (up to 40,000 visitors a day) and as the best new festival.

Sea Star was part of the regional EXIT Summer of Love, which brought together over 350,000 people from more than 90 countries from around the globe at four festivals. All of them were nominated as the best in their categories. The main EXIT festival has also been nominated for the Best European Festival for the ninth consecutive year, while Sea Dance from Budva is in contention for the new title of the best festival with up to 40,000 visitors a day and is one of the Sea Star Festival’s competitors.

The European Festival Awards  take place on January 17, 2018, in De Oosterpoort, Groningen, the Netherlands. Everybody who voted were automatically in a competition to win VIP tickets for the best festivals next year.

In the category of the best festivals with up to 40,000 visitors a day, Sea Star will compete against festivals such as Sea Dance, Balaton, Melt! and Pohoda. In the Best New Festival category, they will compete with 12 new festivals in Europe of different formats and categories.

Voting has been done by an expert jury, featuring prominent individuals from the music industry, and votes of fans from around the world.

In addition to these awards, Sea Star Festival has also been nominated at the prestigious UK Festival Awards event, which features the best British Festivals. It has been nominated in the category of best festivals outside of the United Kingdom.

Turkish Capital Ankara Bans LGBT Events

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The governor of Turkey’s capital, Ankara, has banned all public events relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, citing fears they could “provoke hatred and hostility.”

The ban covers events including film festivals, forums, interviews and exhibitions, according to the city’s governor.

In a written statement Sunday, Ankara governor Mehmet Kiliclar said that LGBT events could interfere with “public security” and were being banned because of “social sensitivities.”
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Ankara Governor, Mehmeh Kiliclar
The governor’s office said the ban would help to promote “public order, prevention of crime, general health and morals.”
Unlike in many other Muslim countries, homosexuality is legal in Turkey, but activists say members of the LGBT community are often subjected to widespread hostility and homophobia.
Last Wednesday, authorities in Ankara banned a German gay film festival that had been due to open the next day, citing public safety concerns.

‘Illegal’ and ‘discriminatory’

Responding to the ban, two gay rights groups in Turkey described it as “illegal, discriminatory and arbitrary” in a joint statement on Monday.
Ankara-based LGBTI organizations Pink Life and Kaos GL said the language used in the governor’s ban was too broad and it violated Turkey’s constitution.
“Ankara governor’s office’s grounds for the omnibus ban, including the phrases ‘protecting public health and morality,’ ‘social sensibilities and sensitivities,’ ‘public security’ and ‘protection of other people’s rights and liberties’ are clearly discriminatory. This decision legitimizes rights violations and discrimination against LGBTIs,” the joint statement said.
It added: “In our country where discrimination and hate based on sexual orientation and gender identity is rampant, it is the duty of national and local administrations to combat this discrimination and hate.”
Homosexuality has been legal in Turkey since 1923 but the country has one of the worst records of human rights violations against LGBTQ people in Europe, and Turkey’s LGBTQ community has been increasingly vocal about violence against members of the community.
Istanbul police used tear gas and rubber pellets on LGBTQ supporters who took to that city’s streets in June in defiance of a ban on the Gay Pride Festival and Parade.
It was the third year the Istanbul governor had banned the rally.
“The march will not be allowed for the safety of our citizens, first and foremost the participants, and tourists who are in the area visiting,” the governorship said in a statement this year.

Europe’s Weirdest, Messiest Festivals

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Festivals often celebrate the unique, the weird, the messy. Europe has no shortage of fantastic, messy events – everything from flinging tomatoes to snorkeling through bogs!

Here, we list but a few of them. Which have you been to? Which would you add to this list?

La Tomatina, Spain

Once a year the tiny town of Buñol becomes the stage of a tomato bloodbath, as thousands of people and 100 metric tons of tomatoes combine for the messiest food fight ever! With just one hour to throw as many squished tomatoes as you can, there’s no better (or more bizarre) way to let off steam, whilst some serious after partying in nearby Valencia guarantees the ultimate in fruity fun long in to the night.

Credit ElreenLicayan

La Batalla del Vino, Spain

If you think La Tomatina is messy, then wait till you hear about la Batalla del Vino – Wine Battle! In late June, the village of Haro, Spain celebrates this unique festival in style. Instead of drinking and savoring red wine, the people of La Rioja region prefer to splash it all over the place and everyone gets wet, sticky and they all turn into a beautiful shade of purple!

Credit Isothetourguide

Clean Monday Flour War, Greece

There’s nothing really clean about Clean Monday! The ‘Flour War’ street party takes place at the end of carnival season and the beginning of the Greek Orthodox Lent in the elegant seaside Greek town of Galaxidi. In an effort to use up flour before the fasting season, villagers fill hundreds of bags with baking flour, tinted with food colouring, to be used as bombs.

It sure beats Pancake Tuesday!

Credit Danaikakoimami

Carnevale d’Ivrea (The Battle of the Oranges), Italy

At the end of February in the small northern Italian town of Ivera, the annual Battle of the Oranges begins! It’s a little unclear why the festival began, but folklore suggests the Carnevale d’Ivrea dates back to the Middle Ages when beans were thrown by the poor back at the feudal lords who had gifted them.


At some point in history, oranges began to be used instead, apparently first thrown by young girls from balconies to get the attention of the boys they liked. The messy festival is actually quite organised, with participants (dressed in period costumes divided into teams in order to pelt oranges at each other!

Bog Snorkeling, Wales

Of course, we couldn’t forget the UK’s very own World Bog Snorkeling Championships which takes place every August in the tiny Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells.

Credit Daxon

Competitors are required to wear goggles, a snorkel and flippers, and must swim two lengths of a dug-out, 60-yard trench in a bog. We’d recommend keeping your mouth closed if you’re thinking of taking part!

So that’s our list – what would you add to it? What is your favourite messy festival in Europe?


Horsens Denmark Festival Aug 23-25 2017

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Dear festival friends,

Let us introduce you 3 more speakers who will be at the Horsens Festival in Denmark !

william culver-dodds

William is a management consultant who for the past 10 years has worked across the cultural, festivals & events and heritage sectors. William has previously been Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals for 15 years.



Annamaija Saarela is Executive Director at Pirfest, CEO at Annamaija Music Company and has previously been President at Europe Jazz Network and Festival Director at Raahe Jazz on the Beach festival.


Susanne Danig is a Performing arts producer, management Consultant and international innovator. She owns and run Danig Performing Arts Service with the new BIRCA – Bækkelund International Residency Center for Artists.

Susanne will address the issue of alternative festivals and new formats. How can festivals develop faced with digitalization and the evolving co-creation?

Got your ticket now here !

For more information please visit here

August 23 to 25 2017

Optional Extension until 27 of August