Why winter festival Trans Musicales takes the crepe
Why aren’t there more winter music festivals? While no one, obviously, is hankering for music gigs in the open air or in 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 that 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 manoeuvre for any promoter looking for an angle and a competitive advantage.
Anyone intending to hit the winter market 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 are no headline acts 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 cash 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), as well as a few extra pounds in weight thanks to the city’s many crepes cafes and a newfound appreciation for festivals that go against the grain.
As the queues outside Rennes’s 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 too sometimes appreciate festivals that go against the grain.
Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes: charging across the frozen wastes of gigland