According to reports by the French Sud-Ouest newspaper and the RTL news, the 2010 edition of the world-renowned comics festival of Angoulême (scheduled for January 28th to 31st) may not take place after all. The news has been confirmed to comics blog BoDoï’s Benjamin Roure by the festival’s organisers.
The problem seems to be the construction (and subsequent dismantling) of the enormous tents all around the city. These traditionally house the many booths and stands for comics publishers and dealers, and often provide a unique opportunity for the larger public to meet the creators they admire. And since the tents are put up across the city, they also often make sure that the less commercial aspects of the festival, the numerous exhibitions, screenings and interviews, attract more attention and are visited by more people.
Until now, the city made a contribution of 400,000 Euros annually for this purpose, but Angoulême mayor Philippe Lavaud confirmed that the city can no longer justify using public money to cater for commercial activities. He invited the organisation Neuvième Art +, which organises the festival, to send the bill for the tents to the publishers who hire the booth space inside.
On the eve of the previous edition, the Festival’s general director Frank Bondoux had already made clear that financial tribulations might have a sombre impact on certain more expensive exhibitions. This time, however, the risk is much larger, since it involves an essential aspect of the Festival, which actually makes it the great comics fest that it is.
(artwork from Blutch adorns this flyer for the now possibly endangered 2010 Angoulême festival; a preview of the programme can be found here)