European Democracy Festival, Brussels, Belgium
Jubel Festival is the first Europe-scale Democracy Festival, taking inspiration from national Democracy Festivals from the successful Nordic and Baltic experiences: a non-partisan festive and political moment involving politicians, officials from institutions, CSOs, academics, artists and, uttermost, PEOPLE.
The festival is focusing on daily-life and prospective European topics, with a great attention paid to the fine settings allowing a sincere and accessible conversation. Jubel Festival should help bridging the gaps - between Europeans themselves as well as between Europeans and their Institutions. It also opens up a new space for discussion around the future of the EU.
Purpose and vision
The Jubel festival wants to propose an innovative approach in engaging a dialogue with citizens about their concrete concerns and proposals regarding European democracy and the functioning of the European Union. Furthermore, the festival wants to contribute, by means of a bottom-up approach and innovative ways to engage with citizens.
The core question at the heart of the “Jubel European Democracy Festival” is: how to strengthen democracy in Europe, identify European citizens’ priorities, concerns and ideas for the EU’s future and their place in this future ?
Founder and year of establishment
Jubel Festival was established in May 2018 and is inspired by and capitalizes on the rich tradition of similar festivals founded in the Nordic and Baltic countries, such as Almedalsveckan in Gotland in Sweden, Folkemødet in Bornholm in Denmark and Arendalsuka in Norway:
“We see Jubel as a mix of the relaxed atmosphere of summer universities, the vibrance of Porto Allegre, the method of Davos WEF and the effervescence of a COP21.” Alain Deneef, co-founder of Jubel
The Jubel Festival is implemented by a non for profit Belgian organisation Jubel- European Conversation Festival ASBL. It is structured by an organisational board of directors and a working team responsible of the daily tasks. Furthermore, the festival is supported by numerous partners, sponsors and volunteers.
Location and length
The festival will take place at heart of Brussels, Belgium, in Jubel/ Cinquantenaire park on the 6th, 7th and 8th of September. The surrounding trees give a sense of natural enclosure and some cosiness. The park is easily accessible and it’s on the route of important touristic flows. From a one day event in 2018, Jubel aims at bringing together in 2019 European citizens for a whole weekend in the heart of Brussels.
Size - number of participants and events
According to 2018 statistics, the one day prototype event of Jubel Festival gathered around 500+ people which attended 26 different events ( debates, panels, workshops, games, conversations and concerts).
This year, we expect between 3000 and 5000 participants.
People attending the festival:
All European citizens are welcome; children and families school pupils, young adults, students and student organisations, workers, retired people, civil societies, NGOs and non-profit. The mainly used language during the festival was English but this year we are aiming to have more activities in French, Dutch and even German. Some aspects of all European cultures will be present at the festival.
Involvement of the political parties:
15 politicians attended the festival in 2018 and were able to answer to the citizens’ questions and enter into discussions with them around various EU topics. This year we hope to host many more.
The planned interactive, inclusive and fun activities will be designed to let the participants bonding with each other. This approach is at the core of the cosy and chill spirit of the Jubel festival: gathering outputs and organizing relevant discussions around European themes while enjoying live music and the good vibes of the Festival. Panel discussions and open debates will pave the way to constructive dialogues and exchange of different opinions, experiences in different European countries and daily lives concerns and priorities. Our partners will be there to animate villages and to organise discussions around the topics identified in the European Whispers process. The participants will also have an opportunity to listen to the concerns of other EU citizens grasping different or similar realities that their neighbours are facing. The idea of this bottom-up approach is to get European citizens being heard in Brussels and especially by the EU Institutions, to challenge the decision making process and turn the EU institutions into listening bodies.
We will also set-up a children corner so that parents can attend panel discussions meanwhile their young relatives enjoy a European experience. For teenagers, various spaces for debates will be organised too.