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Chapter 16 Street Performance, The unintended consequences of festivals

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2630

ISBN: 978-1-910158-15-9

Published: January 2015

Component type: chapter

Published in: Focus On Festivals

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2599



Many describe France as ‘the Mecca ’ for street performance and, worldwide, artists and festival organisers can only dream of the 10 million euros granted by the Ministry of Culture to street companies and festivals; and of the 1000 groups and 250 festivals (or events) dedicated to street performance. Unfortunately, all earthly paradise includes its version of hell, and after 40 years of existence, street performers and organisers in the French context are still struggling to win acknowledgement from the wider cultural sector and public authorities. This chapter will address the issues that have contributed to this difficult situation, one in which some festivals, as ‘one shot big events’, play a perverse role, albeit perhaps, unwillingly and unwittingly. The first festival in France that was entirely dedicated to street performance was that held in Aix-en-Provence in 1973. It was called Aix, ville ouverte aux saltimbanques (Aix, city open to street acrobats). It presented a mixed programme that ranged from traditional buskers through to young artists who aspired to work in venues/places other than theatres, galleries, museums, cultural centres and their middle class audiences. These were artists who wanted to perform for people who never or rarely attended formal cultural activities; to provide them with artistic experiences that were part of the ‘rhythm of their daily lives’, not as part of a more formal arts experience as may be enjoyed in a theatre or gallery.

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  • Floriane Gaber (Author)

For the source title:

  • Chris Newbold, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Christopher Maughan, Freelance writer (Editor)
  • Jennie Jordan, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Franco Bianchini, Leeds Beckett University (Editor)

Cite as

Gaber, 2015

Gaber, F. (2015) "Chapter 16 Street Performance, The unintended consequences of festivals" In: Newbold, C., Maughan, C., Jordan, J. & Bianchini, F. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2630


Donnat, O. (1973, 1981, 1989, 1997, 2008) Les Pratiques culturelles des Français, Paris: La Documentation Française, Available at: http://www.pratiquesculturelles.culture. gouv.fr/enquetes.php

Gaber, F. (2005) Les Publics des arts de la rue en Europe, Gent: Eunetstar

Gaber, F. (2009) 40 ans d'arts de la rue, Paris: Ici et là

Hors Les Murs. (2008) Le Goliath, L'annuaire des professionnels de la creation hors les murs, Paris: Hors Les Murs

Hors Les Murs. (2008) Le Goliath, Le guide arts de la rue, Paris: Hors les Murs

Hors Les Murs. (2011) Les Publics des spectacles de rue et du cirque, Paris: Hors les Murs

Ministère de la Culture / DMDTS (2008) Les Publics du spectacle vivant, Paris: Ministère de la Culture / DMDTS Earthscan.


Published in Focus On Festivals

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