The second part of the 48th edition of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, due to take place between June 24-27, has been canceled and the organization has already announced the dates of the following edition: June 27-27, 30 January 2022.
The acceleration of the pandemic in France, which forced President Emmanuel Macron to impose new containment measures across the country on Wednesday, is the (next) cause the festival management is citing for the lifting. “To offer a dense, varied, high-quality, international and accessible program for everyone this summer unfortunately proved impractical in view of health problems,” explains the organization in the statement that was posted on the festival website this Friday.
The note indicates that the content for the 49th edition will be released in the coming months, reincarnating the ambition of the festival in Angoulême and reuniting the thousands of enthusiasts who make this city the “world capital of comics” will.
On Thursday, however, Le Parisien brought the news of the cancellation of this year’s festival. Quoting the event’s delegate general, Franck Bondoux, the newspaper admitted that the decision made him very sad and that it was truly “heartbreaking”. But “to imagine the festival being held in a scaled-down format with multiple restrictions in a context where we have very small spaces that would no longer be possible,” added Bondoux, also admitting that BD editors are inevitable partners of the event are, “Began to hesitate to get involved”.
In parallel with the crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Angoulême Festival also faced a situation where many editors and comic book writers criticized government officials’ inattention to the situation in the sector. Incidentally, Le Parisien remembers the boycott of a group of artists, designers and screenwriters who would gather almost eight hundred people in January with the start of the petition “We will not return to Angoulême” – adhesions protested against the growing precariousness of the profession.
In this traditional month of the festival and in the face of a pandemic, the organization decided to continue a first part of the event in online mode with the announcement of the prizes – which the Finnish anthology The Thick Book of Kuti would highlight as the best alternative BD – postponement of the personal component of the event on June.
Given the continuing lack of reaction and “negligence” by the Ministry of Culture towards the demands of the sector, illustrator Lewis Trondheim (Grand Prix des Angoulême Festival 2006) announced two weeks ago that he would return his Knight of Europe Medal to Art and Letters, which were ascribed to him in 2005.
Franck Bondoux admitted to Le Parisien that these protests also contributed to the decision to cancel this year’s personal festival, even if they weren’t the decisive ones. “We could not rely on the presence of foreign authors either,” added the General Delegate, since under the current conditions the performance of the festival “was not economically viable and would have impaired the image of the event”.
This is the first time since 1974 that the Angoulême Comics Festival has been canceled. The “world capital of comics” brings together 200,000 people annually in this city in southwest France.