It seems it was too good to hope. The Angoulême International Comic Art Festival, scheduled to take place January 27 to 30, 2022, will instead be delayed until later in the year. The organisers have tentatively announced a postponement into the Spring, “probably by three months”.

The news came via the French press, instead of the official festival site or its social media accounts, which as of this writing have not been updated since yesterday evening.

According to French newspaper, Libération [translated by DeepL],

Noting the new health measures in the midst of the fifth wave of Covid-19 – in particular the return of indoor capacity restrictions – the [festival]’s director, Franck Bondoux, announced to Libération that the event, which was almost ready, would be postponed, probably by three months.

The festival is currently in discussion with all parties involved to agree on a new date, perhaps at the end of March, “in a contamination valley rather than in the middle of the peak as it is today”.

But there is more to the postponement than this. Given the advanced state of the festival and the sums committed at the time of deciding on a postponement, the future of the [festival] is threatened if the State does not help the event, insists Franck Bondoux.

The Angoulême Festival is coming out of a dark year, which saw the January 2021 edition postponed to the summer of 2021, before this summer event was in turn cancelled. “Without emergency aid from the state, the future of the Angoulême festival is threatened,” said its president.”

With the Angoulême 2022 event scheduled to begin in mere weeks, and the lack of any information on social media, some guests have been caught on the hoof – with plane tickets and accommodation likely fully booked in many cases.

Currently France (like the rest of the world) is experiencing record numbers of Covid infections. Today the country recorded 179,807 new infections in the past 24-hour period. The highest since the start of the pandemic. Last night, the French state issued new restrictions to come into effect January 3 that would have mandated home working and – most importantly for a festival that tends to expect over 200,000 visitors – a limit on the number of attendees at public gatherings to 2000 for indoor events and 5000 for outdoor events.

Angoulême, like events worldwide, has struggled since the ‘official’ onset of the covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. The 2021 event, that would have taken place in January of this year was cut down and split into two events in the face of a surge and emergence of the Alpha variant – the smaller professionals-only affair (where international rights for work is bought and sold) in the usual time, and a public special in the summer was planned before itself being cancelled by a further viral surge.