CÔTE D'AZUR & PROVENCE
The May/June issue of Riviera Insider is the biggest and most exciting edition of the year. Out of the sleepy winter lull, the Côte d'Azur kicks into high gear for the start of the season (and the economy) with the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix, Amber Lounge, Top Marques, Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and more. But the Coronavirus brought all this to a slamming halt, causing event cancellations from early February through June. And with it, our favourite issue.
We plan each magazine more than two months in advance, especially the May/June issue as it is jam-packed with double-page spreads of the Red Carpet and Charles Leclerc’s bright red Formula One Ferrari. In addition to the big events, there were going to be articles on the Top rooftop bars, a special on Cannes creativity, a new underwater museum, a trip to the islands and so much art throughout the region that our pages wouldn’t be enough to fit it all.
The cover image is sometimes one of the last decisions to make as we head to the deadline, but this time, I worked with my designer straight away on the history-making event of Spike Lee sitting as the first black jury president of the film festival. Giving the Academy Awards a clear challenge, the festival’s announcement came on the heels of this year’s #oscarsowhite controversy. Spike Lee is an edgy, refreshing and creative filmmaker and it was an exciting cover to prepare.
But while the application for the festival press accreditation was still fresh, a threat was spreading across the globe. Italy was suddenly inundated with cases of this strange virus from Wuhan, China. In late February, it was still business as usual at the office - just without the ‘bisous’. As the days progressed, Nice Carnival and the Menton Lemon festival were cut short. The Violet Festival in Tourrettes-sur-Loup and the bi-annual Napoleon Landing celebration in Golfe-Juan were cancelled. There was a growing fear that MIPIM, one of the biggest trade shows of the year was going to be cancelled as well. Only days away, events were booked, food was purchased - the entire city of Cannes was waiting with bated breathe for the decision. Then the announcement came: Annulé.
Orders from the government came prohibiting gatherings of 1000 people or more. But as Italy’s hospitals became inundated with the infected, the rule was quickly adjusted down to groups of 500 people. Then less. Then all public performances and concerts were cancelled. The government began changing things daily, constantly readjusting to new evidence against an unprecedented enemy no one understood.
Cancellations started pouring in as flights became fewer and fewer. It became clear that all the events crammed into the much anticipated May/June issue would not be happening.
France entered full confinement on 16 March and as of this writing, we are still confined to our homes for another week. The entire world has adjusted to a new form of working, from a distance and over digital meeting apps. And at Riviera Press, we have also adapted. We quickly moved to télétravaille and we had a chance to finally get our digital products website up and running (e-rivierapress.fr).
There has been plenty to report on and plenty of stories that could fill the pages of an issue, however, we also face logistical issues with the lockdown. Our printer is closed and the distribution of thousands of magazines isn’t possible with most of our outlets closed as well. So we quickly moved to solely a digital presence and started a weekly newsletter to keep you updated on our top articles. When we return to a normal publication schedule, this newsletter will decrease to a monthly update.
As for Riviera Insider, we are currently working on our next issue for July/August. I have made peace with the May/June issue, a publication that once was and never will be. Perhaps this wonderful cover can make a comeback next year with Spike Lee.
Stay up to date on our articles by signing up for our newsletter and we look forward to getting our beautiful magazine into your hands in July.
Stay safe everyone!
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