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Avignon show will go on… for now

First night of world-renowned festival will go ahead as planned, but “intermittents” refuse to rule out further action

OPENING night of the world-renowned Avignon Festival will go ahead as planned, after part-time performers and technicians voted in favour of temporarily lifting their dispute.

Workers were 80% in favour of lifting their strike threat for Friday’s first night, but left the door open for action at later performances, said Catherine Lecoq, an official with the CGT Spectacle union.

As reported, performers, technicians and other casual workers in the French arts world - known as “intermittents” - have threatened for to disrupt the country's top summer festivals in protest at reforms to their unemployment rights.

They benefit from a scheme that supports artists by providing them with a generous unemployment payments between creative projects.

Earlier this month, protesters stormed the stage at Montpellier’s Opéra Orchestre National just before a first-night performance of La Traviata.

And a concert by Vanessa Paradis at Lyon’s Nuits de Fourvière festival also had to be cancelled, while events in Toulouse were also disrupted.

On Monday, culture minister Aurelie Filipetti urged striking workers to ensure the summer’s festivals can go ahead as planned.

The Avignon Festival opens tomorrow with a performance of The Prince of Homburg in the courtyard of the city's Papal Palace.

An dispute by intermittents in 2003 led to the cancellation of both the Avignon Festival and the Aix-en-Provence's opera festival.

The July edition of Connexion, available in shops now, features festivals that may be a little off the beaten track but that have attracted some big-name stars and interesting acts

Photo: _jaime1

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