Why win­ter fes­ti­val Trans Mu­si­cales takes the crepe

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

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

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