The 49th Angoulême International Comics Festival, initially scheduled for the end of January, has been postponed in response to new restrictions in place to manage the Covid-19 crisis.
The 2021 edition last January was postponed to June, before being finally cancelled. The winners of the competition were announced online.
Its director is now calling on the state for financial aid to keep the event afloat moving forward.
"We don't want to force things and have an event which is of lower quality," explained the director Franck Bondoux.
However, with nearly five million euros already invested in the event, Bondoux says he hopes the state will step in an help support to keep it afloat.
"This postponement will have serious consequences on the festival, and we'll need all the help we can get from public institutions to continue to exist," he told France Info on Tuesday.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced new restrictions for the next three weeks, including limitations on capacity at certain events -- a maximum of 2,000 spectators at indoor venues, and 5,000 at outdoor venues.
"We are already in a complex situation, with the new restrictions.Trying to go ahead in these conditions would mean putting on a mediocre event, not at all in the festive spirit we're used to," Bondoux said.
"The health situation has gone downhill considerably in the past three weeks and there are many questions we face. The fact is that we can't welcome our overseas guests, or school groups nor can we prepare a sufficiently festive atmosphere. We're also concerned about our guest authors and editors for whom we need to guarantee maximum security."
Meanwhile, French minister for culture, Roselyne Bachelot told the press on Wednesday that culture "would not be sacrificed" despite the new health measures, and that the government would continue to financially support the sector.
"Culture is not sacrificed, culture continues. It is the pandemic that is threatening the culture, not the government measures," she said on RTL radio.
When asked about events such as the Comics festival in Angoulême and numerous concerts, Bachelot responded by saying that "the government would continue to help these structures, as it had already been doing," referring to a massive bailout at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
For the Angoulême festival, Bondoux estimates that the cost of not holding the event would amount to over 1.5 million euros. "I don't dare imagine the cost if we are forced to cancel the event," he said.