“It was a shock and amazement”reacted Jérôme Tréhorel, general director of the festival Les Vieilles Charrues, while the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, mentioned a “postponement or cancellation of major events” which will take place in the summer of the 2024 Olympic Games in France. The organizers of festivals or sporting events fear being sacrificed, due to the lack of law enforcement to guarantee their safety. The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin calls “everyone make an effort”. In fact, 45,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilized every day for three months, the Interior Ministry said Thursday morning on France Inter, and will thus monopolize “all units of the mobile forces”. “It’s the most total misunderstanding. To be sacrificed like that, in one sentence, without consulting, is a bit arrogant”believes Jérôme Tréhorel.
franceinfo: What was your reaction to the Interior Minister’s announcement?
Jerome Trehorel: againstIt was a shock and amazement, this announcement dropped a few hours ago. In fact, there was no consultation, no request to discuss the issue. It is the most complete misunderstanding. To be sacrificed like this, in a sentence, without consulting, without knowing more time or geographical perimeter, is a bit arrogant. Many festivals in the provinces are far from the sites where the Olympic competitions will take place.
“There is also confusion and perhaps ignorance on the part of the Ministry of the Interior about the operation and role of the mobile forces in the parties.”Jérôme Tréhorel, general director of the festival Les Vieilles Charrues
It is very different from the French Football Championship or the Tour de France.
What is the role of the police in Les Vieilles Charrues?
We are autonomous in the organization of the reception, security and personal assistance. We are hiring 750 security guards. They are private companies with professional agents. For the festival we have 250 rescuers and a field hospital with around fifty doctors. The area prefect decides, within the framework of attack surveillance, to mobilize mobile forces. There may be one or two squads, depending on the year, which are not involved in the organization of the festival itself. They are there in case of need, if a serious event develops. They may also, depending on the territory, accompany local mobile forces for sovereign missions.
Without law enforcement, no party possible?
This is what needs to be discussed. If there are threats, you need to calibrate. Is it necessary to add private values exceptionally for security? Why not ! It is to be discussed. There are no exchanges and consultations on the particularities of the different festivals, taking into account once again the geolocation of the events. In Brittany, there are no Olympic sites. The themes are different from festivals that can be in the eye of the storm.
Is it possible to advance or postpone the Vieilles Charrues?
It is not impossible. We are part of world and European tours. We have already made offers to artists for 2024. Festivals cannot be held in 15 days, as we were able to say during the pandemic. The same goes for suppliers and service providers, also intermittent workers, who, for many, make a circuit of festivals in France. And we cannot mobilize and change schedules like this from one year to the next. And the same goes for all the voluntary associations that also organize their agenda around the Vieilles Charrues which, for 30 years, have taken place on the third weekend of July.
What does a cancellation mean for a festival like yours?
A cancellation is the death of the festival. We have already said it during the pandemic. That is why I am very surprised by this announcement. We had been listened to, listened to. We may not have worked on the security component at that time. They are 18 million euros of budget. There is zero subsidy. We live thanks to tickets and partners. It would be the death of the festival. So this solution is neither desirable nor conceivable. And we will make sure to find the solutions and to exchange with the local and national authorities, if necessary, so that each festival can find solutions.
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