While doing research on my German comics article, I discovered an interesting press release in the Erlangen Comics Salon website. The news? Five comics cultural festivals in Europe have formed an organization to better network and promote comics in Europe, to be known as EUROCOMICS – European Comic Festivals Association. Le Festival international de la bande dessinée d’Angoulême is not yet a member, but the bylaws do outline the process for admitting new organizations and individuals:
The Association has an unlimited number of members, but counts five members at least. The Association’s founders, with the status of Founder Members are:
- Stripgids – Turnhout (Belgium) represented by Koen Van Rompaey as general director of npo Strip Turnhout;
- Internationaler Comic-Salon Erlangen (Germany) represented by Bodo Birk as director;
- AmadoraBD Festival Internacional de Banda Desenhada – Amadora (Portugal) represented by Nelson Dona as director;
- International Festival of Comics and Games – Łódź (Poland) represented by Adam Radon as general director;
- Napoli COMICON Salone Internazionale del Fumetto – Napoli (Italy) represented by Claudio Curcio as general director.
Other than the Founder Members the Association consists of following categories of members:
- European comics festivals whose activities fit the criteria of next articles and are accepted by the General Meeting, named Associated Members.
- International cultural organizations as well as internationally known and renowned cultural institutions active in the field of comics or arts, named Affiliated Members.
- Individuals who have been serving the development of the Association, named Honorary Members.
All membership applications are first presented to the Committee by at least one of the Founder or Associated Members. The Committee determines whether the application shall be submitted to the General Meeting. To be accepted by the Committee an applicant festival must fit at least 4 of 5 of these criteria:
- The festival focuses primarily on comics;
- The festival runs for at least 10 editions (non consecutive, non yearly);
- The festival is of national importance and has an international reach and orientation;
- The festival is not only a book fair, but has a substantial artistic program (exhibitions, panels, guests, workshops, etc.);
- The festivals program is not exclusively focused on artistic merits, innovations, etc. but shows a relation to the market and consciousness of the importance of economic viability and sustainability of publishing comics.
BD-FIL (Switzerland) was admitted as a co-founding member.
Here’s the PR.
 Comics Cultural Festivals, in contrast to Comics Arts Festivals, are more inclusive, both of fandoms and publishers. They enjoy greater support from government agencies and cultural institutions.