After weeks of uncertainty and waiting, the new dates for the postponed Angoulême International Comic Art Festival have been announced. France’s annual destination comics event – where professionals, fans and enthusiasts gather from across the globe will now take place March 17 to 20.

postponed Angouleme

The new dates for the postponed Angoulême festival were delivered via a press release:

The Angoulême International Comics Festival is postponed to March 17 to 20, 2022 (its corresponding professional day will now be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2022). All of the Festival’s components will be carried over to the new dates: its artistic programming, its Official Competition, its editorial offer – including the participation of creators and their publishers… The aim to offer all comic book lovers an event as rich and culturally diverse as the ones which took place before the pandemic.

They elaborate further,

These dates were selected after dialoguing with public and private partners and having taken several factors into consideration :

First and foremost, the evolution of the pandemic, whose peak, according to current projections, will be at the end of January 2022. Experience has shown us that there will be a significant drop in number of cases in the weeks that follow a peak; some countries are now even saying that we are moving from a pandemic to an endemic state. A situation that implies that events will once again be able to take place freely.

Then, the schedule of global cultural events, with a goal of minimizing possible conflicts, yet, at the same time ensuring that works are promoted in a time frame that respects their arrival in bookstores, ensuring not to overlap with French elections…

The hope is to have a Festival in its complete form so as to bring together all the elements of the ecosystem of the comics arts; a passion of an important number of French and international visitors expected in Angoulême during these exceptional March dates. Adaptability has become a mantra for all of us, including one of the Festival organizers.

The press release also details events that will still take place between now and the festival itself, namely mini comics exhibitions at train stations across the French train network. Many opened December 20, 2021 but today the festival announced that, by the beginning of February, an additional twenty stations will join the thirty already participating in the initiative. A similar initiative took place earlier in 2021.

In train stations: a partnership with SNCF Gares & Connexions and the support of the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine has enabled us to organize exhibits that feature comics works in over thirty train stations across France. Since the 20th of December 2021 a dozen train stations across France have displayed contemporary works of comics art. Some which reflect the evolution of our society, others which focus on educational content or reunite fans with known works such as Goldorak, Madeleine, Résistante, Bergères guerrières and Le Marsupilami.

At the end of January and beginning of February, about twenty additional stations will be added to this program. They will offer travelers excerpts from the works of the Festival’s Official Selections. This means a retrospective of over a hundred works offering a snapshot of the current comics landscape. The exhibits will be grouped by themes and will include texts providing background and information on the works. The works on display explore worlds, not only those of their creators, but also those of today and tomorrow, sometimes utopian, sometimes dystopian, those of important collective stories as well as unique individual ones.

Millions of passengers, rushed or waiting for their trains to depart, will be introduced to these exhibitions up until the Festival takes place. A perfect transition!

SNCF Gares & Connexions, the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the Festival’s innovative project – which differs from a classical museum exhibition approach in that it was conceived to specifically target traffic flow in train stations – is part of the government decreed great national cause: reading. A cause where comics play a fundamental and increasingly important role in terms of building a relationship between young readers and books of all kinds.

2022’s postponed Angoulême Festival was originally due to take place January 27 to 30 but the explosion in omicron Covid cases in France and the announcement of new restrictions on event capacities forced the festival to nix that plan in late December – albeit in a haphazard manner, via the French press instead of their more direct web channels.

The stated intent of the December announcement was to postpone the festival to sometime in the spring. Timing the festival was made slightly trickier by the fact that this is an election year in France, with the presidential election scheduled to take place 10 and 24 April.