The annual Lorient Interceltiques Festival (5th – 14th August 2016)
One of France’s biggest international festivals.
Each summer, around 700,000 people from all over the world invade the Celtic land of Lorient for the Festival Interceltique. From Galicia to Scotland, the cream of Celtic music can be found here, to be enjoyed in a really convivial atmosphere.
Every year it’s the same song and dance! Since 1971, this festival has really got it in the bag-ad, for every year it’s bombard-ed with over 700,000 visitors coming to listen to the Celtic sounds of the bombards and the bagad. Just like the Pied Piper, this inter-Celtic parade mesmerises the crowd, assembled here to celebrate an inter-Celtic night at the Moustoir stadium or in the fishing port, to the sound of the Scottish and Spanish bagpipes that fill the air. Around 200 events and shows and 5000 performers on the bill…Tourists will love the atmosphere, and the Lorient locals are wholeheartedly involved in this festival which celebrates Celtic culture. Well into its forties, the Interceltique may be greying a little around the temples, but it is still young at heart.
The Vieilles Charrues festival (14th to 17th July 2016) takes place each year in July near Carhaix, Finistère.
Started in 1992, this open air music festival has rapidly established itself as the French equivalent of Glastonbury, and is now the biggest open air music event in France, attracting an eclectic variety of top musicians from France and abroad.
Whilst the line-up at the Vieilles Charrues changes every year, for over 20 years its recipe for success has remained the same with a mix of eclecticism and conviviality, legends, and legends in the making. Five stages, 80 artists and 230,000 spectators…This festival really is a must!
Situated in the heart of the Finistère countryside, the festival comes back each year with a line-up that’s music to your ears. The playlist will appeal just as much to electro mad teenagers as pop fans and rocking granddads. The festival has the knack of creating a melting pot of musical styles and generations to suit all styles and generations. Some of the big names that have already performed here include Iggy Pop and the Stooges, 2 Many DJ’s, Amon Tobin, Ben Harper, Bruce Springsteen, LCD Soundsystem, Pixies and Muse.
Created in 1992 by a group of friends, which included Michel Troadec, the current mayor of Carhaix, the idea back then was to “enjoy a good meal, have a sing-a-long and a couple of drinks”, and 20 years later, the Vieilles Charrues hasn’t lost sight of its convivial origins. More than 230,000 visitors visited in 2010!
The Festival de Cornouaille (July 2016) Quimper, Finistère;
Brittany’s biggest annual festival of Breton culture.
Dedicated to the sheer richness and diversity of Breton culture, the Festival de Cornouaille is a cultural cornucopia, and even though it is now nearly ninety years old, this festival is still as youthful as ever.
Concerts, all kinds of entertainment, competitions to determine the best bagadoù, or bagpipe players, bell-ringers and dancers…and the Great Sunday Parade where everyone dresses in traditional costume. That’s the Festival de Cornouaille. For one week every summer, Quimper’s historic town centre vibrates to the Celtic rhythm, much to the delight of some 250,000 visitors. And, since 1923, the festival has never been a disappointment. Back then, the gorgeous girls of Concarneau, Quimper and Pont-Aven paraded proudly in traditional Breton costumes. Today, the festival has become a horn of plenty into which the likes of Joan Baez, Césaria Évora and Simple Minds pour their music. Simply mind blowing!
The Fête des filets Bleus (the Blue Fish Nets festival) (August 2016) in Concarneau (Finistère).
An opportunity to see the old streets of this fishing port filled with people in traditional Breton costume, and see traditional Breton dancing to the sound of traditional music. The festival first took place in 1905 !
Over a hundred years old, the Filets Bleus festival takes place every August, when it gives the town of Concarneau and its inhabitants an opportunity to go back to their roots. A typically Breton-flavoured costumed parade, with dancing and games that have no need whatsoever for artificial colouring.
Some come out of curiosity, others to see all the pomp and pageantry of the parade. Some want to win a bout of Gouren, a type of Breton wrestling, while others hope to learn a few steps of a traditional Breton dance or try their hand at palets, which is ‘boules’ Breton-style. And of course they come to see the new Miss Filets Bleus, chosen among the wealth of pretty young girls from Concarneau. It’s hard to imagine that this vibrant festival has been around for over a hundred years! Back then, the quays of Concarneau were covered in the blue sardine-fishing nets that have since given their name to this festival. In 1905, hard times hit the fishing industry and the inhabitants of Concarneau decided to pull together by creating the Filets Bleus. From that point on, this local event has never ceased to grow, becoming one of the most popular and unmissable festivals of traditional Breton culture. And it goes without saying that each and every visitor takes away a little piece of wonderful Breton culture. And once the sardines have been hauled in then it’s time to sound the Breton bagpipes or biniou and blow the bombard to announce the start of the Filets Bleus festival.