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Angoulême: Go or no go?


A lot has been written recently on the future of 2010’s Angoulême comics fest — unfortunately, most of it was written in French, so The Beat doesn’t know exactly what was said. The Forbidden Planet blog uses superior language skills to interpret reports as saying that next year’s show is indeed endangered, due to costs and who will pay for tents:

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.

As we read it, the city feels that it should not foot the bill for what is a commercial enterprise. Bart Beaty has also been commenting on this over at The Comics Reporter, with a bit more informed interpretation, with the idea that this is not such a big deal, and, seemingly, more of a power play by mayor Philippe Lavaud.

Does anyone know what is REALLY going on?

  1. This recent article says there will be a show and provides specifics about costs:

    The 2010 edition of the Festival international de la bande dessinée (comic strip festival) in Angoulême will go ahead as planned between 28 and 31 January, despite the recent wrangling over finance.

    Organiser Franck Bondoux went on French radio last Thursday to declare the event would not take place, claiming that the mayor of Angoulême Philippe Lavaud had made cuts in funding. [. . .]

    On his return last week, Philippe Lavaud stepped into the row and in a press release promised that a compromise would be reached. He said that because of reductions in state funding overall for the town (1.3 million euros in 2009), all six festivals currently supported by the town could be affected by reduced funding, and cooperation was needed to find solutions that would allow the event to remain an annual fixture.

    Angoulême subsidises the festival to the tune of one million euros already, with the costs ultimately borne by the 43,000 residents of the town.

    One million euros is currently equivalent to about $1,496,600.


  2. This sounds like a power play to get some additional concessions out of the festival. After all, the festival brings in 200,000 visitors to the city that otherwise would not be there. Let’s assume, for simplicity’s sake, the 50,000 of them come for all four days and stay three nights, while the rest come only for one day with no overnight stay. Assume the average hotel is $75 per night, so that’s $3,750,000 right there. Assume that the 50,000 4-day guests each have three meals a day at an average cost of $8 per meal. Another $400,000 into the local economy. And assume that the 200,000 day-trippers each buy one meal for $8–$1,600,000. I think these are reasonably conservative numbers. I doubt the town will leave nearly $6 million in local business on the table in a fit of pique. (Not to mention the costs of the eventual lawsuits, etc.)

    Times are tough, so the town wants the festival to shoulder more of the costs. Threatening to shut the festival down was a negotiating tactic.

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