posted on August 13, 2009 19:00
Welcome to La Route du Rock, France's best alternative music festival. We're at the site, an old fort about ten miles south of Saint Malo. To get here - and Irish festival-goers will love this - a free shuttle takes us from the town out to the festival location. And en route it stops at a hypermarket where one can get off the bus, load up on supplies (booze, mostly) and then hop on the next bus a half-hour later.
We've been struck by the number of English accents we've heard around us here - it seems that there's been a mini D-Day channel crossing and landing. Of course, the cheap tickets, easy accessibility and excellent line-up make this a great value indie-kid holiday for UK fans. With transport connections from Ireland to nearby Rennes (by air) and Paris, La Route du Rock is a secret that Irish fans would do well to discover.
Just like last year, festival director François Floret has been playing the poor mouth and telling the press about the financially precarious situation of La Route du Rock. That said, even he concedes that next year's festival is not at all in danger - a change in tone from the end-of-the-world sounds he made by rattling his begging bowl last summer. But the festival's unique venue is part of the problem - from a total budget of €1.3 million, a hefty €700,000 is spent on installing and customising the technical side of things.
And that leaves little in the piggy bank for paying rock stars. Floret singles out the expense of bringing the Irish headliners to the festival. "My Bloody Valentine proved to be rather demanding", he told local paper Ouest France. Eventually, he says, because of the festival's reputation "they accepted to half their appearance fee". Oh, but they're worth it, monsieur Floret.
Tonight's bill features Deerhunter, Tortoise, A Place To Bury Strangers, Crystal Stilts and headliners My Bloody Valentine - review to follow.More ...