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23.6.14

Intermittents Cancel Opening of Montpellier Danse


As mentioned last week, a showdown is brewing between the French government and les intermittents du spectacle, the union of workers in the arts, film, and television who do not always work throughout the year, which may catch this summer's music festivals in the crossfire. An article in Le Monde (Intermittents : la première de Montpellier Danse annulée au dernier moment, June 22) reports that the opening night of the Montpellier Danse festival, a performance of Empty Moves by Angelin Preljocaj, was canceled at the last minute because of demonstrations by the intermittents. This was in spite of two promising developments: a commitment to talks with the intermittents from the Ministre de la Culture, Aurélie Filippetti, as early as tomorrow and a vote by a large majority of the intermittents NOT to disrupt the opening of the festival in Montpellier. Those who remember the strike-plagued summer of 2003 will recall that Montpellier Danse was the first major festival to be canceled by the demonstrations of the intermittents. The threat appears to have been heard at the highest levels: on Saturday, the president himself, François Hollande, "took advantage of the Fête de la musique to make a surprise appearance at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris, promising he would defend 'culture always and again'." The festivals at Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, both set to open in the first week of July, are still planning to keep to their schedules as announced.

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