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Show must go on

Apr 30, 2020
The association Bertsozale Elkartea will allocate 45,000 euros to promote bertso performances in pandemic times and to alleviate the vulnerable situation of creators.

When the State of Alarm was declared on March 15, the association Bertsozale Elkartea was about to hold its annual General Assembly. Evidently, the assembly was postponed and both the project planned for 2020 as well as the annual budget have had to be reviewed.  

Many of the projects planned by the association have had to be canceled, postponed or adapted. Besides, the health crisis has also affected the entire bertsolaritza movement.

Time and effort will be needed to recover the usual rhythm regarding bertsolaritza shows. That is the reason why Bertsozale Elkartea is going to launch new initiatives: the association is going to allocate 45,000 euros to keep bertsolaritza running and to alleviate the vulnerable condition of creators.


400 performances less since March

Cultural events, including bertso performances, need feedback from the fans; however, live performances were suddenly suspended.

"It was a sudden blow that we did not expect", explained Marta Agirrezabala coordinator of Lanku Kultur Zerbitzuak, on the article published by on April 7. "Lanku's main activity is the organization of bertso events and it had to stop all of a sudden". Consequently, Lanku Kultur Zerbitzuak has applied the Temporary Labour Force Adjustment Plan to cope with the economic situation triggered by the pandemic.

According to the data collected by Xenpelar Documentation Centre, in 2019, 1,644 sessions were held in the Basque Country: 1,215 of them were bertso performances, and the rest, more than 400, were special, experimental or didactic sessions.

"Lanku's main activity is the organization of bertso events and it had to stop all of a sudden"

With some slight changes, but, in general, the number of performances is almost the same every year. What’s more, in 2020, there was even a light increase in sessions in the first two months of the year which are not usually too busy regarding bertso performances. The spring as well as the summer is quite more intense and that was when the health crisis began: in March, about 195 sessions were expected and only 53 were carried out. From that month on, the bertso events were suspended. To understand the scope of what this meant, these are the numbers of the events last year: 122 sessions were held in April, 162 in May, 179 in June and 135 in the three summer months, some of them managed by Lanku. This results in an economic loss of around 385,600 euros between March and June.


Suspended or postponed projects

All this has had an immediate consequence on the projects promoted by the association, and we have had to review the project and the 2020 budget.

  • Suspended: Bertso Udalekuak; camps; Haizea dator; Sakontze Bertso Eskola; Eskolatik Plazara; Plazara !; Bertso Eskolen Egunak; Bertsulari Ttiki; Elebidunen Besta Eguna.
  • Postponed: Arabako Bertso Kuadrilla Artekoa; Bardoak; Bizkaiko Txapelketa Udabarria bertsotan; BBK Sariketa; Eskolartekoa; Pello Mari Otaño bekako deialdia (the period to present the projects has been extended); Udako Euskal Bertso Eskola summer course in UEU.
  • Pending to see if they are feasible in another way: end-of-year festivals in various schools; Bertsoa Bizi Gazte contest; Oholtzapetik; Hernandorena Sariketa; Ahalduntze Bertso Eskola; Gizonezkoen Bertso Eskola Feminista; UPV / EHU Summer Course.

The assemblies of the associations of Biscay and the Basque Country have not yet been able to take place; they were expected to be on the same weekend that the State of Alarm was declared. The new appointments will be fixed when the necessary conditions are met: we will inform about them in advance.


45,000 euros to promote performances

The crisis has led us to demonstrate capacity for resilience. In education, we have tried to adapt quickly to new conditions. The work done in previous years to launch has been really useful. Bertsozale Elkartea teachers have continued with their lessons over the Internet and will do so until the end of the course.

During the confinement period, different people of the bertsolaritza movement have launched online programs on the Internet, and the association Nafarroako Bertsozale Elkartea has also launched a program called Konfinamenduko bertso saioak (Bertso performances in confinement) in collaboration with several radio stations in Navarre.

We are working on longer-term responses, following the strategic line of Bertsozale Elkartea and using, as already mentioned, the association's resources. The decisions taken will be reviewed as conditions are evolving.

To begin with, Bertsozale Elkartea is going to allocate 45,000 euros to reinforce the activity of bertsolaritza and alleviate the vulnerable situation of the improvisators. The association will organize performances to broadcast on the Internet from May 2 on, and will guarantee that the bertsolaris have remunerated proposals.

We will review and adjust our activity according to the evolution of the State of Alarm and pandemic

In addition, there will be room for experimentation, and several sections will be launched on website:

  • Plaza: Bertsozale Elkartea will offer the possibility of organizing online sessions to those local organizers who are not able to do it in their municipalities or theatres. We have adapted the hall of our hedaquarters in Amasa-Villabona to record the performances, meeting the necessary sanitary measures. The performances will be broadcasted on website, when organizers and the association agree.
  • Bidaiak: meeting point for experimentation. On Wednesdays, there will be performances with an innovative format. Bertsolaris of different provinces and ages will take part.

Bertsozale Elkartea will finance these projects with its own resources, but fans could also contribute through the following channels:

  • Telephone 688.886.935 through Bizum;
  • or through the following account: ES16 3035 0060 43 0600042844 (in case you need BIC (Swift) code, CLPEES2MXXX)

We will review and adjust our activity according to the evolution of the State of Alarm and pandemic.

More than 400 performances have been call off. / XDZ