Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The French way of doing things

Why aren’t there more winter music festivals? While no-one is obviously hankering for music gigs in the open air or tents on nights like these (unless you’re a reindeer or a polar bear), it’s a surprise that more promoters don’t …

Fri, Dec 9, 2011, 09:34

   

Why aren’t there more winter music festivals? While no-one is obviously hankering for music gigs in the open air or tents on nights like these (unless you’re a reindeer or a polar bear), it’s a surprise that more promoters don’t go for city-based multi-venue, multi-night affairs later in the year.

Of course, there are a few which buck the trend – such as Eurosonic, which will be taking over Groningen in Holland again in January with the cream of new European acts, including nearly 20 Irish ones – but there’s still room to maneouvre for any promoter looking for an angle and a competitive advantage.

Anyone intending to hit that road should first head to Rennes in France to sample Trans Musicales. Established in 1979, Trans Musicales has been pulling punters from far and wide with a bespoke, smartly curated selection of French and international acts ever since. It’s been going this long because they know what they’re doing.

What’s remarkable about Les Trans is that there’s not a headline act on the bill to pull in the punters. Instead, 30,000 people pay their cash and trust in the curatorial abilities of the bookers who, in turn, have spent their budgets on new acts and superb production instead of overpaying some superstar act.

OTR came back from Rennes with a long list of acts to check out (see Now Playing and New Music for some of these), a few extra pounds in weight thanks to the city’s many crepes’ cafes and a new-found appreciation for festivals which go against the grain.

As the queues outside Rennes’ city-centre venues by day and the happy hordes who roamed between the various halls in the Park Expo outside the city by night demonstrated, audiences sometimes appreciate festivals which go against the grain.