Press Release

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event - 20-21 May 2016  

20. 05. 2017

YO!Fest, taking place on 20th and 21st May, will see 7,500 young people debating with each other and politicians how to change Europe for the better. As a prominent part of the European Youth Event (EYE2016), YO!Fest will feature political debates, interactive activities and live music at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The 7th edition of YO!Fest (Youth Opinion Festival), the annual political youth-led festival organised by the European Youth Forum, has moved back to Strasbourg as part of of the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event (EYE2016). Today, the European Parliament opens its doors to 7,500 young people aged 16-30 from across Europe inviting them to debate with peers and decision- makers, around the theme “Together we can make a change”.

Over 200 panels, thought-provoking debates, interactive workshops and educational activities will take place inside the European Parliament and outside in the YO!Village, focusing on five main themes:

  • War and Peace: Perspectives for a Peaceful Planet

  • Apathy or Participation: Agenda for a Vibrant Democracy

  • Exclusion or Access: Crackdown on Youth Unemployment

  • Stagnation or Innovation: Tomorrow’s World of Work

  • Collapse or Success: New Ways for a Sustainable Europe

Launching the two-day-event, an opening ceremony is taking place today in the YO!Village in front of the European Parliament, featuring keynote speeches from Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness and Sylvie Guillaume.

Johanna Nyman, President of the European Youth Forum said:

“Europe is and has been in an continuous crisis. How better to take the first steps to solve a crisis than to gather the ideas and innovation of young people? That is what we will be doing at YO!Fest!  When it comes to achieving positive change in our society, I know that our generation, the young people and youth organisations are the key. We see everyday that when young people come together and organise, their impact is direct and long lasting. This is exactly our ambition with YO!Fest – to bring youth from across Europe together, but more importantly, to leave with ideas that can make a better future for us all!”

The two-day-event will draw to a close with an open-air concert focusing on migration: music has no borders (Saturday 19.00 – 24.00 – Esplanade Tivoli – YO!Village):. Politically engaged Israeli-American electronica-world fusion band Balkan Beat Box, headlining this year YO!Fest will be supported by Chilean cumbia-ska band Chico Trujillo.

- ends -

Notes to editors

About the YO!Fest

YO!Fest is the political youth-led festival organised by the European Youth Forum.

More information about the YO!Fest: 

YO!Fest partners and media partners :

Highlights from the two-day-programme include:

20 years on: what has changed for YOUth? (Friday 11.30-13.00 Magic Mirror -YO!Village): Talk examining the priorities of the pan-European youth movement 20 years ago with illustrious European Youth Forum alumni, linking the struggles of the past with the challenges of the present and celebrating 20 years of European youth cooperation.

Who will you make peace with? (Friday 16:00-17:00 Magic Mirror - YO!Village) : Talk organised by Peace One Day and the European Youth Forum featuring actor turned film-maker Jeremy Gilley on his campaign for an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence. Working with politicians at the highest levels, celebrities and leaders of armed groups, Gilley succeeded in establishing peace day and recording staggering reductions in levels of violence on peace day.

Tweet up! Changing policies one hashtag at a time (Friday 15.00-16.30 Tipi -YO!Village): interactive session with inspirational online activists and campaigners organised by the European Youth Forum and Twitter revealing the secrets of online advocacy.

Youth organisations: A laboratory for youth empowerment? (Friday, 15:00-16:30 – Octagon - YO!Village) : panel discussion on how youth organisations empower young people to be at the centre of the action, take decisions and lead the way forward while learning to live and work together.

Europe for the “happy few”..or social inclusion for all? (Saturday 10.00 – 11.30 Magic Mirror - YO!Village): workshop discussing the real impact of the crisis and austerity measures on social rights and the welfare safety net. The European Youth Forum presents and examines the findings of the in-depth report on social inclusion of young Europeans, raising crucial questions for youth: are young people ignored in current welfare systems? Has the European social model let youth out?

Youth UP: your ideas for youth-friendly politics (Saturday - 16.00-18.30 - European Parliament): Series of ideas-workshops followed by a plenary session organised by the European Youth Forum discussing innovative ways to increase youth participation in decision-making and finding the best ideas for a politics that’s responsive to young people.

Sustainable Development - goals for youth, goals for Europe? (Friday 13.30 -15.00 - European Parliament; Saturday 12.00-13.30 – Octagon - YO!Village): workshops organised by the European Youth Forum to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and discover how young people and youth organisations can get involved to make change happen.

Stand up, speak up – lobbying for beginners (Friday - 13:00-14:30 European Parliament; Saturday, 10:00-11:30 – Octagon - YO!Village): training and role-play organised by the European Youth Forum on how to effectively advocate concerns or the demands of youth organisation with decision-makers.

Living Library (Friday and Saturday - 10.00-18.00 – YO!Café - YO!Village): equalities tool challenging prejudice and discrimination by facilitating a conversation between two people, the ‘reader’ and the ‘human book’. Organised by the Council of Europe.

Six thematic hubs co-created with YO!Fest partners on the main EYE2016 themes (Friday and Saturday 10.00-19.00 –YO!Village):


  1. War and Peace hub focusing on the refugee crisis and education for peace-building, the impact of austerity on human rights, the recognition and protection of youth rights, and the ways to tackle discrimination and achieve equality

  2. Apathy or Participation hub promoting the social value of youth organisations, exploring existing ways to participate in decision-making at EU level, sharing inspiring examples of active participation and how to “youth up” the current political systems, thus how politicians can better engage with young people.

  3. Exclusion or Access hub addressing quality education, employment, volunteering, mobility and inclusion, some of the issues that are closest to young people.

  4. Stagnation or Innovation hub exploring the world of social entrepreneurship and co-operatives as an alternative, sustainable model for business to tackle the issue of youth unemployment.

  5. Collapse or Success hub tackling global issues impacting our daily lives such as climate change and protection of the environment, social inclusion and inclusive and sustainable economic policies.

  6. Health & well-being hub highlighting the importance of young people’s well-being by exploring a range of issues from basic life support to mental health and the importance of sport.


Evening programme:

Opening for the main act (headlined by Balkan Beat Box and supported by Chico Trujillo) will be the two winners of YO!Fest Emerging Bands Contest, Dutch singer Danny Kalima and Strasbourgois band Ginger H. DJ and producer Mr. Breadstick’s live gig will tell the stories of asylum seekers risking their lives to cross borders into the EU by mixing powerful images and a blend of voices and music. 

About the European Youth Forum

The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents over 100 National Youth Councils and international youth organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit 


#YOFest - #EYE2016 - @Youth_Forum - @EP_YouthEvent

Need to get in touch?

General phone line: +32 2 793 75 20
fax: +32 2 893 25 80
Rue de l’Industrie, 10
1000 Brussels

More information here.