In 2008, the Air des Balkans cultural association launched a festival featuring gypsy and Balkan artists. Thanks to support from the LEADER programme, they have been able to develop the festival and build up a real cultural programme throughout the year for the whole area the festival and build a truly year-round cultural programme for an entire community of community. Between 2014 and 2022, 3 successive projects have been launched to create and strengthen the association’s cultural action and make it a strong asset to the region’s dynamism. Through these successive projects, the association and the festival are now contributing to local tourism, quality of life and, above all, the local economy, quality of life and, above all, access to culture in rural areas for local people and schools.

Presentation of the project

The adventure of the Welcome in Tziganie festival began in 2008 with the creation by the L’Air des Balkans association of a festive and cultural event during which gypsy and Balkan artists would perform a festive and cultural event featuring Gypsy and Balkan artists.

the spotlight. The festival takes place every year in Seissan (32), in the heart of an open-air theatre.

Since its inception, Welcome in Tziganie has remained true to its objectives: to help people discover and promote the cultural riches to as many people as possible, create links between gypsy populations and the local the local population, energise the department during the pre-festival season, and create a real local dynamic. The 3 projects supported by the LEADER programme were :

– Setting up an annual season to mark the 10th anniversary of the festival in 2017 by offering cultural events in the area, and redesigning the festival’s communication plan.

– Purchase of a marquee and a staircase to improve conditions for the festival’s audience and festival artists.

– A rural touring project focusing on Gypsy culture, with 3 main strands: cultural, with a programme of shows; educational, with workshops in artistic practice; and cultural, with a programme of shows, with a programme of shows, educational, with workshops in artistic practices, and tourism, with a focus on local heritage. The Val de Gers community of communes, in which the project is taking place, did not have cultural association or festival on this scale. By developing its project throughout the community of communes, the association brings the villages to life culturally all year round by highlighting heritage and creating synergies with the department’s major cultural, institutional and community partners and associations in the department (media libraries, schools, leisure centres & CLAE, music schools of Masseube – Seissan, cinemas, the departmental tourism committee, secondary schools, the CAF, secondary schools, the Astrada in Marciac, etc.).

Key figures :

– 58 meetings and events over the 2 cultural seasons, 2021/2022 & 2022/2023 (artist residencies creative workshops, activities in Auch’s QPV district, school workshops, introduction to Balkan music Balkan music, concerts and storytelling, summer concerts, storytelling walks, performances and concerts in the heart of the bastides)

– 6,000 festival-goers during the 2017 festival

– 8,000 to 10,000 people involved in the annual 10-year festival season project

– 20,000 to 50,000 people used the marquee at other events

The emblematic character of the project

Renowned for the richness and quality of its melodies, its positive energy, its cheerfulness and spontaneity, Welcome in Tziganie has become one of the highlights of the season spontaneity, Welcome in Tziganie has become one of the highlights of the Occitan festival season and a must-see event for aficionados of Gypsy and Balkan music, gypsy and Balkan music. The three successive projects have responded to a number of local issues specific to rural areas rural areas:

– Providing a high-quality, collective and innovative cultural offering Reinforcing social cohesion throughout the region,

– Encouraging citizen participation through artistic projects and practices,

– Organise outreach activities (workshops, meetings with artists, training courses, etc.) artists, training courses, etc.) that raise awareness among new audiences and/or are linked to local issues (strengthening social links, getting young people involved in society) participation of young people)

– Organise cultural events on a regional scale, bringing together different local and/or combining several approaches (social, environmental, sporting, tourist, etc.), sports, tourism, etc.)

– Create a local dynamic

– Adapting venues to cultural practices

– Highlighting local heritage.

In short, the major challenge taken up by this 3-part project is above all the development of the development of a strong, locally-rooted cultural player that is now a marker for the region in terms of tourism and a major driver of local dynamism, and a major driver of local dynamism. There are real economic and, above all, privileged access to the culture of other countries. This project is an example of what successive support from the LEADER programme to a small community festival that has developed, strengthened its links, partnerships and local actions, its local activities.


L’Air des Balkans

GAL Pays Portes de Gascogne – Pays d’Auch