Fêtes de Bayonne paying: the debate back to court


The festivals and ferias of the South can they pay well? Tuesday, the administrative court of Pau looked for the first time on the question, following a request filed on the case of the famous Fêtes de Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).

In this year without festivities in red and white, canceled due to the health crisis, the court returned to the debate half-opened two years ago with the decision of the Bayonne municipality to set up a paid and closed perimeter for these parties that usually brew every end of July up to 1 million visitors.

The public rapporteur, whose opinions are generally followed by the judges, recommended rejecting the appeal filed in 2018 by a resident, according to concurring sources.

According to the UDI mayor Jean-René Etchegaray, the conclusions of the public rapporteur indicate that “the cities are well justified in charging the costs of the measures which are especially put in place for the safety of revelers”.

A decision that could set a precedent

According to the city councilor, “Bayonne has wiped the plaster” for other towns in the Southwest and the South, tempted by a paying model but who “were waiting to see the situation in our city”.

The decision of the administrative court, known in the coming weeks, could be a case law for other cities that would like to establish a paid perimeter for their parties.

In principle, the public rapporteur does not question the possibility for a municipality to charge for access. However, he expressed a reservation as to the content of a municipal decree.

An appeal against the “very principle” of paying

In 2018, a Bayonne PS activist, Joé Mendes, associated with two other applicants, seized the administrative court to challenge the legality of the municipal decree of 25 May 2018 which established the principle of paid parties, as well as the municipal deliberation which set the entry price at 8 euros.

However, an article of the municipal decree limited the free access bracelet to only permanent employees of Bayonne businesses, located within the perimeter of the holidays. Which leads the applicant’s lawyer, Fabien Macagno, to say that the court could move “towards a partial annulment” of the order.

For Joé Mendes, it was the “very principle” of paying to come and go in the city, to party, that was targeted. This recourse, “it was not fair to annoy the municipality,” he assured. “We are talking about politics in the noble sense, because it concerns the life of the city, the Holidays should remain free”. According to South West, the appeal should be dismissed.

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