The strobes remain off and the mirror balls no longer spin. But the “chokers” have not said their last word. Since the beginning of July, “free parties” have been gradually developing in the capital and, since July, have gathered several thousand people. The organizers themselves admit to having been overwhelmed by the sudden resurgence of interest in these gatherings.
These improvised parties on the edge of Paris, especially at the Bois de Vincennes, express less a desire to overcome warnings about COVID-19 than a desire to let off steam, get together and surrender to electro trance music. and dub until the early hours of the morning. It almost seems like a basic necessity.
For Tony Lemâle, member of the Night owls Committee and the Paris Night Council, these parties are “outlets”: from mid-May, at the time of deconfinement, he became aware of the need for these moments of sharing. In addition, he notes that the youngest populations are less affected by the coronavirus and especially that they conscientiously respect barrier gestures. “These are parties where organizers but also partygoers feel responsible: prevention stand, supervision, security services, thorough cleaning of the place »He specifies. He adds : “Since that date, no cluster has been observed during these“ free parties ””.In fact, one cannot accuse revelers and organizers of irresponsibility by observing the attention paid to potential health risks. Partying is also about getting together and feeling safe. Responsibility is a fundamental pillar of rave culture.
For its part, the city of Paris has decided to play the card of appeasement and prevention. If some police interventions took place in July, the municipal team and the police headquarters quickly understood that the sanction was not the right method. To adopt a thoughtless attitude and to abandon all forms of dialogue would be unreasonable, as much for the participants as for the town hall itself.
For Frédéric Hocquard, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of tourism and nightlife, “A policy of pure and simple repression would not make sense and could even worsen the situation”. He adds : “We know very well that we will have to live with this virus for some time. So it is imperative to ask ourselves how to cohabit with the latter while allowing people to be able to have fun despite everything, by adapting to each situation and by helping the organizing collectives. The DPSP, the police department in charge of the case, told me that it had other things to do than chasing young people in the middle of the Bois de Vincennes. The police have other occupations ”.
If the town hall seems to have been somewhat overwhelmed, at the start, by the rapid multiplication of these free-parties, it wished to recall a fundamental principle evoked by the deputy: “It is imperative to uphold the equality of citizens before the law. If we can bring together 12,000 people in Puy-du-Fou, why can’t we bring together 2,000 people in the Bois de Vincennes? We must send a strong message and above all not create a distortion of rights according to the place where the populations present in these gatherings ”.
To ensure the smooth running of the festivities, the city actively participates, in consultation with the organizers, in the establishment of a charter and devices to ensure total health security, for example by distributing masks and hydroalcoholic gel. . Emphasis is also placed on the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol and drugs, as well as on prevention against STIs. Those responsible for these festivals also undertake to remind participants of the need to respect barrier gestures. In addition, the ARS (Regional Health Agency) recently joined the negotiating table to provide COVID-19 screening centers on site. The town hall is also committed to finding “compatible” places, that is to say where the neighborhood would not be bothered, like Dehors Brut, which had settled in a wasteland near the railway station. ZAC of Bercy-Charenton.
This spirit of dialogue is bearing fruit and is suitable for all stakeholders. No question of waiting several more months to decompress to the bass rhythm of techno-hardcore music. Let’s not forget: Paris is a party.