Split’s Mediterranean Book Festival to Go Ahead Despite Coronavirus Crisis

Lauren Simmonds

As Morski writes on the 29th of August, 2020, the Mediterranean Book Festival, which will take place from the 2nd to the 6th of September in Split, more precisely in Gripe, is set to offer a rich programme for all lovers of the written word, but also send out an important message – that economic and cultural life must continue despite the iron grip of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

This festival will be a demonstration exercise on how to behave and how to carry out the demanding organisation of such a cultural event in a crisis situation, such as the unprecedented one we’re currently in. It will send out a picture of the new normal in Split, as well as how people can be ”treated;; with books during the coronavirus epidemic,” said the mayor of Split, Andro Krstulovic Opara.

Among other things, disinfection points for feet and hands await the festival’s visitors at the very entrance to the Gripe Sports Centre. Of course, it won’t be possible to enter without wearing a mask and agreeing to a temperature measurement, and special visitor counters will make sure that the area of ​​1800 square metres isn’t too crowded. All vendors at the stands will have a visor over their faces, the distances between the stands will be increased, and because of all this, the working hours of the festival have been extended (from 10:00 to 21:00).

”We know that we’ll be under a magnifying glass, but we decided to break the ice and create a frame in which all visitors will feel comfortable and safe. Although social distancing will be kept in mind, IFC is an opportunity for readers to meet the authors in person after a forced break of months and for cultural life to begin to return to normal. For us publishers, the festival is of great importance from an economic point of view, which can be seen in the response of the publishers. About 90 of them will offer visitors over 10,000 titles in the field of journalism, fiction and children’s books,” said the president of the Association of Publishers and Bookstores of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Slavko Kozina, adding that this festival is important as a guide for future cultural events, even under these coronavirus-dominated circumstances.

Everyone who decides to go will be able to enjoy a rich programme, from numerous book promotions, through expert panel discussions to workshops for children. Special attention will be paid to children and young people and numerous workshops will be organised which will include creative storytelling, drawing comics, robotics, writing stories and more.

The festival is organised by the Association of Publishers and Bookstores of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Split-Dalmatia County and the City of Split, with the support of numerous partners, and the project will be held in accordance with all of the recommendations of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and all of the current epidemiological measures.

Admission to the festival is free and you can find out more about the programme, registration for workshops, the prize draw and the festival’s STOP COVID-19 measures on the official website.

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