Tis the sea­son for . . . a fes­ti­val? Well, yes, if you get it right

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - ON THE RECORD -

If it’s De­cem­ber, it must mean catch­ing the plane and train to Rennes. Thanks to the tal­ent-scout­ing skills of long-time mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Jean-Louis Brossard, the city’s Trans Mu­si­cales fes­ti­val has been at­tract­ing fans, me­dia, pro­fes­sion­als and bands to the French city for the past 34 years. We may think some Ir­ish events have earned their spurs af­ter five or 10 out­ings, but 34 years is quite a tally.

Les Trans is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent beast to the fes­ti­vals we have here. In­stead of the top-heavy na­ture of Ir­ish and UK fes­ti­val bills, Les Trans of­fers a slew of new­bies a chance to im­press in the gi­ant hangars in Parc Expo on the edge of the city.

The big head­lin­ers you’d fig­ure that a 12,000 ca­pac­ity event needs to pay the bills are nowhere to be seen – Rachid Taha and Vitalic were the big­gest names to play the fes­ti­val last week­end – with emerg­ing acts such as Petite Noir, Sinkane, Nick Water­house, Phoebe-Jean and Lou Doil­lon to the fore.

Add the fact that “Les Trans” has in­vested heav­ily in pro­duc­tion to turn four or five hangars in an in­dus­trial park – not what you’d call nat­u­ral venues – into proper mu­sic-friendly spa­ces and you have a fes­ti­val to be ad­mired.

While you can un­der­stand why in­creas­ingly risk-ad­verse pro­mot­ers tend to stick to the sum­mer months for fes­ti­vals, it’s still strik­ing that there are not more win­ter events of this ilk on the cal­en­dar. Pro­mot­ers ar­gue that bad weather may dis­cour­age fans, but then again we haven’t ex­actly had great sum­mer weather in re­cent times.

As Les Trans shows, a de­cent bill, a good lo­ca­tion and at­ten­tion to de­tail will al­ways draw the crowds. We’re al­ready plan­ning for Trans num­ber 35 next

year.

Trans Mu­si­cales ex­press: Rachid Taha

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