The Groningen city council announced that the Liberation Day festival will no longer receive a government subsidy should it continue to charge an entry fee. This year’s admission cost, which was dubbed a ‘pilot’ by the festival’s organizers, was met with province-wide controversy.
The decision, which would see the festival go without an 84,000-euro Gemeente-provided subsidy, went against the desires of the council’s alderman, Glimina Chakor. She felt that an evaluation of the festival, which is still underway, should have been completed before finalizing any decisions on the pilot.
“It’s quite premature. I thought we had agreed that the ticket price was a pilot, and still needed to be evaluated,” said festival organizer Ebel Jan van Dijk in a conversation with RTV Noord.
Van Dijk noted that, should the city council revoke the yearly subsidy, then the festival will almost certainly return to its usual ‘free-admission’ approach. According to Van Dijk, without the subsidy it is not certain whether or not the festival can continue to function solely based on the 5-euro entry cost.
“If that is the case, then I won’t be able to take the pilot seriously either,” said Van Dijk. He added that without the completed evaluation of the event it remains too early to tell whether or not the pilot was a success.
All indications are that future Liberation Day festivals in Groningen will take place without an entry cost.