The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


French-based music fans have some tough decidin' to do for the start of July, what with three tasty festivals happening on the same weekend at different corners of la hexagone.

We've already featured the Main Square Festival at Arras in the north, and Eurockéennes at Belfort in the east. Both have their charms.

Solidays 2008However, your blogger will be at a different festival, the third panel in our tryptich of French music trips for the first weekend of July. We're staying in Paris. There happens to be a tasty festival just down the road from Château French Letter.

Solidays takes place at the Hippodrome de Longchamp, the west Paris racecourse that holds the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (won last year by the Irish-trained Dylan Thomas). The festival was conceived as an AIDS-awareness event, but has grown into a bona fide heavyweight summer concert series.

The festival's honorary president is Antoine de Caunes, familiar to UK and Irish TV viewers as the host of Rapido and Eurotrash. If you know Paris then you'll know it's quite appropriate that the presenter of Eurotrash is heading a festival that takes place near the Bois de Boulogne, where all the 'interesting' people come out at night.

Now in its tenth edition, Solidays 2008 hosts a mix of French and international indie and dance acts.

CocoonFriday 4 July features the wonderful Vampire Weekend, the equally-brilliant French folk-pop duo Cocoon (left), Australian airplay-darling Micky Green (is she famous in Eire yet?) and impressive Belgian rockers Girls in Hawaii. There'll also be sets from local heroes Deportivo and Têtes Raides (not our thing), alt-folkies Moriarty and those irritating Hoosiers. Later that night there's a dance stage featuring Vitalic and Laurent Garnier.

The Saturday night line-up doesn't really appeal to your Paris correspondent. Unless there's some wonderful late addition, we'll probably head into town that night to drink wine on the banks of the Seine. But for those sticking with the festival, there's the happy-clappy folk-pop of Apple saleswoman Yael Naim and some are-they-still-around moments with Asian Dub Foundation. The samedi soir home favourites are rocker Cali, balladeers AaRON, singer-songer Thomas Dutronc (son of '60s pop icons Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc) and dreary slam-poet Grand Corps Malade, who we won't be sorry to miss. But the Etienne de Crecy DJ set might be worth catching on our way home.

YelleSunday night: that's more like it. The Gossip and Foals, with two French Letter favourites - Grenoble indie kids Rhesus and disco-pop princess Yelle (right). Also: Toots and the Maytals! Richie Havens! We'll have to check out those two too.

All of that for only €33 for early bookers. The normal three-day price is €45 - still excellent value. Camping on-site costs €8 per person. Tickets are available from FNAC.

You can read up on Solidays and its line-up at the festival's website and MySpace page. Here's Sunday night star Yelle and her hit single 'A Cause Des Garçons' ('because of boys'). If you don't enjoy this, there's no hope left for you:

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Nuggets from our archive

2000 - 'Rock Criticism: Getting it Right', written by Mark Godfrey. A thought provoking reflection on the art of rock criticism.