posted on July 25, 2009 19:00
Saint Malo is an old walled town on the northern coast of Brittany, hugely popular with tourists looking for sun, sand and spectacular scenery. For three days every summer the ranks of sun-worshipping tourists are swelled by pale Parisian indie kids, here for France's best alternative music festival.
Our regular readers will remember that we featured last summer's La Route du Rock on two occasions - 'before' and 'after'. First, we reported on the festival's financial problems, potentially terminal at the time. Then we were happy to tell how the festival had been saved by a late rush of ticket sales, apparently due to UK-based fans of Sigur Ros making the short hop across the Channel.
La Route du Rock returns for 2009, in its traditional slot of the mid-August French public holiday. It features as main stagers the sort of alternative acts normally cordoned off in the tents of other major festivals.
That said, the festival can boast a headliner who's high in both indie cred and marquee-name attractiveness - our own My Bloody Valentine. G'wan Oirland! Kevin Shields and co. will play on the first night, along with Tortoise, The Horrors, A Place To Bury Strangers, Deerhunter and Mark Kozelek. Plenty of squally shoegazing there.
Saturday's headliners, The Kills, leave us cold. But Peaches will surely be good for a wild time. Also on the bill that night: Camera Obscura, St Vincent and Four Tet.
Sunday night offers the only big French name of the festival - chanteur Dominique A, who you might know from his appearance on 'Hyacinths And Thistles', the 2000 album by Stephin Merritt's side project The 6ths. More to our taste are Grizzly Bear (auteurs of the wonderful 'Veckatimest'), Andrew Bird, Bill Callahan and Telepathe.
Saint Malo is close to Rennes, where there are regular flights to/from Ireland, and the ferry at Roscoff - Irish music fans should consider hitting La Route du Rock for their summer holidays sometime. Your correspondent will be there: bucket-and-spading it on the beach by day, indie-ing out by night. Yahoo!
You can check out full festival details on La Route du Rock's website. How much will it cost? Well, it's €94 for a full three-day pass to the main arena and two smaller venues. But if you just want to stick to the main stage and don't feel the need to see Telepathe or Mark Kozelek, it's €74 just for the main stage.
Now, back to the packing: suncream, snazzy swimming togs... oh, and earplugs - here's 'You Made Me Realise':