“The goal of an agglomeration is to create culture for everyone,” explains Joël Vincent, who is leaving the presidency of Nîmes métropole.

“The goal of an agglomeration is to create culture for everyone,” explains Joël Vincent, who is leaving the presidency of Nîmes métropole.

Joël Vincent a été vice-président de Nîmes métropole, pendant plus de 20 ans. – Adrien Boudet

Paloma, Nîmes métropole jazz festival, vendredis de l'Agglo… Homme de dossier, discret et consensuel, Joël Vincent a été le pilier de la politique culturelle de Nîmes métropole depuis plus de vingt ans.

During the Agglo Council on Monday February 26, your delegations as vice-president for culture were withdrawn and entrusted to Gaël Dupret, mayor of Sernhac. Are you disappointed ?

Disappointed yes, I would have liked to finish the mandate. It’s something that fascinated me. But I don't want to argue…

You have been vice-president for culture since the beginning of the Agglo, in 2001…

In fact, I had volunteered for culture. I was a teacher, school director and mayor of Saint-Gervasy since 1989. I realized that creating culture in small towns means ;was often a struggle, financially and in terms of attendance.

I started by touring the communes, then added the opinion of the design office which was preparing Paloma.&nbsp ;

How do you explain Paloma's success ?

It was my great happiness. If we took the culture skill, it was probably for Paloma. 

What made Paloma successful is the work done by the upstream associations, Rakan, Femag. They were involved in the project, I always let them speak without ulterior motives. They gave us some interesting ideas, for example housing.

There is a project that was in line with what we wanted for culture in the city, that is to say culture for all. And then we were lucky enough to come across an extraordinary director, who made the difference. 

Culture has been a unifying skill for the Agglo…

Exactly, when we did the jazz festival, for example, it was with a unifying aim. It started with a jazzy audience, then other people arrived, we went to schools, almost everywhere… There is a lot of funding of the city, but we fill the rooms. 

There is a craze in Nîmes for jazz. When we asked ourselves questions, we realized that several municipalities already offered jazz concerts, Caveirac, Garons, Redessan… it worked well, it made it possible to have a unifying festival.  

You also organize the Fridays of the agglomeration…

It's less visible, but it's even more effective in terms of access to culture for the local population. At the beginning, we gave money to the municipalities and we offered them a catalog of shows. They paid part, but had a strong participation from the agglomeration.

Then we moved up a gear. L'agglo finance is free and it works very well. Most shows are sold out. 

You had to defend your budget ? 

I told the community council. Franck Proust found the situation degraded and asked everyone to make efforts, that is understandable. We adapted the jazz festival, especially since with Covid, we were doing outdoor concerts, it was cheaper. The following year, we were asked again for savings, I said that if we continued to cut budgets, we could no longer do anything and they heard me. In 2024, we managed to get what we wanted. 

You still had plans ? 

My dream was to have an introduction to music in all the towns. I would have liked to launch it this year. Several years ago, we went to see what was happening in Perpignan. Nursery schools, after school time, host initiations. Then from a certain age, children join classical music schools, as exist in larger municipalities, then conservatories.

The goal of an agglomeration is rather to create culture for everyone, not events. It seems to me that we need to work more in depth.

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