The 9th edition of the Nuit de la Culture in Esch-sur-Alzette will be going ahead, in line with strict sanitary measures, on Saturday 19 September 2020.
This edition, which was originally scheduled for 2 May 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will revolve around the theme of air.
This year's Nuit de la Culture will be divided into two parts. The first is constructed as a sort of double prelude, happening simultaneously in Esch-sur-Alzette and Villerupt (France). For the first time, the Communauté de Communes Pays Haut Val Alzette (CCPHVA) has joined the event as part of an unprecedented collaboration. The second part, which begins at 18:30, will see the transformation of University-Belval into a giant circus that will be brought to life by two key moments: Exit, a circus performance featuring performers trying to take off in a huge hot air balloon; and a big ball hosted by the Bortsch Orkestra, which also took part in Nuit de la Culture 2018.
This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to guarantee the safety of all, visitors will have to register (free of charge) for these two events, either on site at the Escher Infofabrik or via the email: email@example.com. For all other performances, especially those in enclosed spaces, the organisers have implemented the sanitary measures currently in force, namely regarding the compulsory wearing of face masks (some 7,000 fabric masks will be distributed to visitors), making hand sanitiser available and restricting the number of people in a room to ten.
The Nuit de la Culture will once again take a look at the city of Esch-sur-Alzette, its geography, its landscape, its history, its exchanges... and for this edition, the question of mobility and more precisely movement between Esch city centre and the University of Luxembourg Belval campus will be honoured by train and bicycle. In total, the public can enjoy some 30 artistic offers throughout the evening.
This edition is the first organised by the new coordinator and artistic director of the Nuit de la Culture in Esch-sur-Alzette, Loïc Clairet, who explained why the event is so important for the city: “The Nuit de la Culture transforms the city into a huge playground to highlight its heritage and the skills of residents, associations, artists and institutions. It gives birth to Esch and Luxembourg's multiculturalism". With regards the European Capital of Culture Esch2022 project, he added that the event "also makes it possible to test various parameters. It allows progress to be made through best practices. Finally, through its international influence, it contributes to making the city known and recognised as an important cultural centre".
In a telephone interview with Chronicle.lu, Mr Clairet explained that COVID-19 had been the major challenge this year, with a lot of reworking and replanning having to be done - around ten projects dropped out of the event between May and today due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, he was glad to have worked with the various partners and met the artists, who form "the base of this artistic project". He confirmed that around 150 people (including volunteers) have been working on this year's Nuit de la Culture.
Regarding the theme of air, Loïc Clairet highlighted the message "simply breathe", citing the two major aspects of this edition: cycling and mobility; and Belval at the heart of the project. He added that there will be many things to see this year so as to avoid having too many people in the one place due to the current sanitary situation. In terms of visitor numbers, this year's edition will be slightly smaller than normal due to the organisers' commitment to safety as well as the reservation system in place for the public. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to see this year and Mr Clairet does not expect a huge drop in numbers. In the case of stricter measures or a change in the COVID-19 situation closer to the date, the organisers will adapt if necessary, for instance live streaming other shows.
- 10:00 - 18:00, at the Micheville Aerodrome / Le Belvédère in Villerupt. On the occasion of Nuit de la Culture, this private aerodrome opens its doors and offers visitors the opportunity to discover various military and historic planes. At 15:30, the Belvédère de Villerupt, like the Place du Brill in Esch-sur-Alzette, will become the departure point for a bike ride to the University-Belval district in Luxembourg. A concert, a bicycle (and helmet) customisation workshop with the Compagnie du Chassé-Croisé and a paper plane competition are also on the agenda.
- 15:30 - 18:00: Bicycle ride from Place du Brill to Esch city centre. Place du Brill in Esch will take on the role of a large bicycle garage from which visitors can discover different cycle paths, customise their bicycle, create a kite or discover the latest creation for Esch2022. Similarly, the Annexe 22 of Esch2022 will be transformed into a large artistic workshop for the construction of quadracycles. In the days preceding Nuit de la Culture, the public is invited to come and see the assembly of a quadracycle in the pavilion. Along the way, participants can discover a brand new installation by Blanc Murmure asbl, a story imagined with residents of the city to allow cyclists or walkers a moment of escape. On arrival, there is also a garage to park bicycles.
- 19:30: Exit show in Square Mile car park in Belval. Spectacular and defying the laws of gravity, Exit plunges us into a cinematic universe of anticipation. A group of sweet "freaks" find themselves trapped in the heart of a life-size escape game. Their mission: to escape at all costs and as quickly as possible from this world governed by strict and relentless rules. What could be more practical than a huge hot air balloon? With dazzling zipline sequences on a rope connecting the balloon to the ground, an aerial ballet of human silhouettes suspended above the void, magical images of this immense hot-air balloon in the twilight sky, the Inextremiste company affirms its taste for risk in this circus performance. This show will also be live streamed.
- 21:00: Bortsch Orkestra Ball at Hall des Poches à Fontes. Polish folk group Bortsch Orkestra mixes festive Balkan music, rock'n'roll and humour. Oscillating between Aznavour and ACDC, the Borscht Orkestra ignores borders by placing itself resolutely outside the classic formats. This ball will show visitors that the air has no borders.
Other highlights include a lecture-concert (musical reading) featuring the melodies of Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli and a performance by the Majorettes de l'Alzette, featuring marching and stick twirling, among others.
For further information, visit https://nuitdelaculture.lu/ and/or the Nuit de la Culture social media pages.