Circus Monte Carlo

The World Cup of Artistry? The International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo

This year, the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo has its 40th anniversary. It is considered as the world championship of artistry. The circus festival, which was launched in 1974 by Prince Rainier III. Monaco, looks back on a long and exciting history. A retrospective.

Perfection, spectacle and thrills characterize the performances of the international circus festival of Monte Carlo. Since 2006, Princess Stephanie is president of the festival. Here the best artists, clowns and animal trainers enter the world of circus and delight audiences with spectacular attractions. The acrobats not only try to win the audience's favor. They belong to one of the highest awards in the circus world and are awarded by an international jury.

The first festival was held in the tent of the French circus Bouglione. Between 1976 and 1994, the tent of the Italian Circus Americano-Togni took over the venue. Since 1995, the event has been taking place in the Chapiteau de Fontvieille, a stationary tent with an inner diameter of 49 meters and up to 3,800 seats.

When Prince Rainier founded the Circus Festival, his specific attention was around the big cats. He wanted the festival to support the circus arts and offer artists a platform. At that time he himself wrote the program and selected the participants in person. Then, as now, artists from all circuses of the world are invited. Meanwhile, the event is one of the most important events of the circus world and is broadcasted in over 50 countries. At the end of the festival the "Golden" and "Silver Clowns” are awarded, the "Oscars of Artistry".

Since 2007, the festival lasts ten days. The festival was canceled already twice: In 1982 for the death of Grace Kelly, and in 1991 due to the Second Gulf War. 2006 was a special year in the festival's history. Clowns were not awarded in this year. As a substitution only artists performed who already had won a Golden, Silver or Bronze Clown. They all entered the stage for a six-hour closing gala, which was a tribute to Prince Rainier who died in 2005.

Then, in 2012, the New Generation Festival was founded. It is the only youth festival, which takes place in a proper circus ring. Participants must be less than 20 years old.

That artistry is a dangerous art, what was proved in 2015. Motorcycle jumper Kevin Ferrari crashed during a jump test and died on the spot. Nevertheless, the festival was continued, but the team of the German circus Flic Flac departed one day after the accident. Princess Stéphanie sat disciplined with her daughters in the royal box, and still pursued the other circus performances. We hope that the international circus festival of Monte Carlo this year is under a lucky star and that the artists will draw the audiences´ attention in their magic spell as ever.