The big check from the Region for a private festival in Lyon

Info Lyon Capitale. In the midst of a controversy over the reduction in subsidies granted by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region to many cultural actors in Lyon, according to our information, the community is preparing to grant a subsidy of 500,000 euros to the Inversion festival, co-organized by the Lou Rugby. An event that will see Stromae, Orelsan or even PNL perform in Gerland in June. Explanations.

Since the end of April and the first revelations about the drop in subsidies granted by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region to certain cultural actors in Lyon, the choice of Laurent Wauquiez, the president of the regional authority, has caused a lot of talk and arouses “incomprehension” and anger in Lyon. No less than 25 institutions or cultural events in Lyon should see their subsidies reduced (Opéra de Lyon – €500,000, Subsistances – €134,000, Maison de la Danse – €180,000, Nuits Sonores – €15,000, etc.) or completely disappear in the case of the Villa Gillet (-€350,000). For the city of Lyon alone, the amount of the reduction is estimated at nearly 2 million euros.


“There is no rent. There is no automatic right to receive public subsidies, we have to make choices, even if these choices are not always easy”, Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region


These last weeks, Lyon Capital has repeatedly echoed these budget cuts, which should be formalized this Wednesday, May 25 during the permanent commission of the Region. Whether in the visual arts, books, cinema, theater or even music, no sector seems to have been spared by the Region’s choice to redistribute its resources.

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Controversy around the reduction of certain aid

Requested several times by Lyon Capitalfor a month and our first article on the subject, to explain and justify these “cuts“budgetary, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region remained silent, the vice-president for culture even refusing to broach the subject with us when we questioned her, stating only “everything was said“. At each exchange, the services of the community were content to put forward the will “to help small cultural structures weakened by the Covid“, via a fund of 500,000 euros, and “to irrigate the whole territory“, not only the Metropolises. On Thursday, May 19, Laurent Wauquiez finally answered our colleagues from BFM Lyon. During this interview, he ended up conceding: “I ask efforts from major cultural institutions, which have had a lot of help during the Covid period, to show solidarity. […] Afterwards, there is no annuity. There is no automatic right to receive public subsidies, we have to make choices, even if these choices are not always easy“.

Read also: “There is no rent”: attacked from all sides, Wauquiez explains culture

The various cultural players and elected officials from Lyon with whom we were able to discuss all recognize the community’s right to arbitrate the distribution of its resources. What tenses and creates excitement is rather the way of doing things, “brutal” and without “consultation”, at the risk of jeopardizing certain structures. Enough to give rise to a real controversy in Lyon, the disarray of the cultural actors concerned even finding an echo in the national press.

A partnership of 500,000 euros with Inversion Fest?

For the time being, we do not yet know the details of the rebalancing desired by the community, on the other hand, according to our information, the latter could grant a subsidy of 500,000 euros to the new Inversion music festival, which will take place at the stadium of Gerland on June 17 and 18. The Region’s partnership with this private festival, co-produced by Lou Rugby (owned by GL Events) and Olympia Production (a subsidiary of Vivendi), is no secret, this one having been unveiled in November 2021, on the other hand, the community has never communicated on the amount of its contribution.


“The Region’s support is far from negligible, I can’t tell you exactly, but all partnerships included, it will be around 10% of the festival’s budget. It’s far from being the majority”Yann Roubert, president of Lou Rugby, co-organizer of the festival


To bring in some of the most popular artists of the moment, such as Stromae, Orelsan, SCH or even PNL, the president of Lou Rugby, Yann Roubert, talks to Lyon Capital a budget of “several million euros”shared with Olympia Production, without detailing it, explaining “we rarely communicate on our figures”. Asked about the amount of the subsidy granted by the Region, he does not confirm the amount we are talking about, but does not invalidate it either, preferring to specify “we communicate even less on the figures of our partners”. Mr. Roubert concedes however that the contribution of the various partners of the festival (the organization lists on its site the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, Crédit Agricole center-est, Radar and Auto Bernard) “will be around 10% of the budget”.

Read also: Lyon: Black Eyed Peas, Ckay, PNL, Orelsan and Stromae will perform in June at the Stade Gerland

Also invited to react to our information concerning this subsidy, the cabinet of Laurent Wauquiez explained to us that they could not communicate to us the amount of this envelope “at this stage”. Less than a month from the event, “discussions have not yet been concluded.provide the services of the President of the Region, who therefore do not confirm the amount of 500,000 euros, specifying however that the decision will be known by the summer.

The budget for culture not impacted

We remember that in 2018, the allocation of a grant of 400,000 euros to the Belgian festival Tomorowland, a world juggernaut of electronic music, for the organization of a winter edition in Alpe d’Huez had aroused an outcry in the Rhône-Alpin cultural community. At the time, Laurent Wauquiez had even been forced to take up his pen to specify the content of this subsidy, explaining: “Our Region can be delighted to have succeeded in capturing an event of international scope. This is the reason why this festival will focus on tourism and economy delegations. The culture budget will not be impacted“.


It is a subject of regional visibility, therefore of communication. The communication department operates transversally”the cabinet of Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region


In the case of the Inversion festival, the Region should not, here too, touch its cultural budget of 61 million euros. Asked, Laurent Wauquiez’s cabinet explains “we will be on a communication budget that does not charge the culture budget”. A choice that the executive services justify as follows: “It is a subject of regional visibility, therefore of communication. The communication department operates transversally”.

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Contrary to aid granted via the envelope dedicated to culture and which are debated during commissions, the subsidies usually allocated to the communication budget are not subject to a vote. They come under a budgetary operating chapter simply entitled “General services, general administration, other general means”, the budget of which has increased from nearly 8 million euros in 2021 to 19 million euros in 2022, and must be presented by Laurent Wauquiez to the elected representatives of the regional council during the Plenary Assembly in a report entitled “Report”. For example, among the expenses of the communication department listed in the last report, dated March 2022, we find in particular a subsidy of 300,000 euros to the Foire de Lyon, within the framework of a partnership, or even a participation of 100,000 euros in Made In PME.

Laurent Wauquiez’s cabinet specifies that the amount of his subsidy to the Inversion festival “will be the subject of a decision by the summer”. With a view, perhaps, to being unveiled to elected officials at the next plenary session scheduled for June 29 and 30.

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The big check from the Region for a private festival in Lyon


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