'Zomer van Antwerpen’ to go ahead with audiences of no more than 200 per event

Antwerp’s summer festival of culture ‘Zomer van Antwerpen’ has published its programme of events for the summer of 2020. Due to the measures designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus the festival will be shorter than in other years and won’t get under way until 1 July. A number of larger events have been scrapped and locations have been changed to ensure social distancing can be maintained and the safety of visitors guaranteed.

Traditionally the ‘Zomer van Antwerpen’ festival programmes hundreds of circus acts, theatrical performances, concerts and films, some of which are free and others where an entrance fee is payable. The events take place all over the city. However, plans for this year’s festival have had to be modified due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Over the past few months the organisers have been working on a revised programme taking into account the decisions taken by the National Security Council.

At this year’s festival no more than 200 visitors will be welcome at any one event. Maximum capacity at events will be calculated taking into account the 1.5 metre social distancing rule. Visitors will buy tickets as a “bubble” (a group of friends or family members) and will sit with the members of their bubble during performances.

The festival’s artistic director Patrick De Groote told VRT News that "We have had to scrap performances that required a large audience capacity as well as performances by intercontinental companies and performances that involve audience interaction”.

"In addition to this we were constantly in touch with companies to discuss any changes that needed to make. We are currently using simulations to ascertain exactly how many visitors we can welcome”.

This year’s festival will feature the traditional “Summer Factory” in Berchem and Cinema Urbana on the Schelde Quays. Local bands and comedians will feature in ‘Muziek in de Wijk’, while the Summer Bar will offer a stage to young circus artists.