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Castres. 20 years of Bolegason: “Bigflo & Oli in 2011 was already a phenomenon”

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On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Bolegason, the Castres concert hall honors its photographer, Dominique Costes, with a photo exhibition of the many artists who have appeared on the current music scene.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Bolegason, the Castres concert hall honors its “almost photographer”, as he is used to presenting himself, Dominique Costes. Around thirty photographs are exhibited at the Bolegason until June 21. They retrace the last twenty years of the Castres scene of contemporary music, but also the journey of the music enthusiast who has been covering concerts for seventeen years now. Interview with this Castrese.

How did your adventure in photography and then at Bolegason begin?

The very first seed was planted at the airy center when I was eight years old. I still remember my feelings when a photographer animator showed us how he developed his photos. We saw the photos gradually appear in the tray, it was magical. Then at the MJC in Lameilhé, when I was seventeen, where I took part in a photo club with the camera I had just bought myself. There was a photo lab and we were given the film, it was the dream. And finally I ended up leading a photography club myself, at the MJC des Salvages. And the adventure with Lo Bolegason, it begins rather stupidly, during a Rock in Tarn concert organized by Michel Besset who offers us films for the MJC. There I got caught up in the game, I who used to photograph the city, buildings. One day, the director of the Bolegason, Olivier Nicaise, offered me the opportunity to attend the concerts in exchange for my photos. It was a real challenge. So I started even if at first it was not terrible (laughs). But seventeen years later, I rarely miss a performance, and the deal hasn’t changed. The most important for me are the photos and the music. What I like most is sharing with the musicians. On stage, but also afterwards, when you can really interact with the artist.

Tell us about one of your best memories, the meeting with an artist who particularly marked you.

It was in 2017, the singer la Pietà comes for the first time to the Bolegason. I meet her a little before the start of her concert, we talk easily. But once on stage, she is unrecognizable. It was stunning. She is one of those artists who give everything they have in concert. She talks about women, love and it shows, she spits hate. That’s why I love music. And concerts have this advantage that no hi-fi system will ever have, they bring music to life. We hear it, we feel it and we see it. It’s staggering. That’s music, seeing the sounds come out. You can’t really love music without going to concerts. To miss this is to miss out on hundreds of discoveries. What I like about photography at the Bolegason is also being able to convey this idea by sharing the energy of an artist. The stage sometimes makes it possible to appreciate an artist beyond his musical style. I discovered the metal band Sidilarsen this way. I did not expect it, I had watched a video on the internet before going there but on stage they are so good that it makes you vibrate. So I bought the CD! Same when Juliette Armanet took part in the Futures in 2017, it was raw, but there was already something stunning. And I’m not even talking about Bigflo & Oli in 2011, it was already a phenomenon. I always say that you have to be curious, because concerts are an opportunity to see real music. And in my opinion, you can never be disappointed. At some concerts, the performance is such that I forget the camera. But fortunately over the years, the habit of the technique takes effect and I know my bearings. And especially fortunately that we no longer work with 36 rolls and that I can take more than 600 photos per concert!

What does this exhibition represent for you?

Even if at first I was surprised that they offered it to me, in the end I’m very happy and quite proud. It’s nice to see his photos displayed in large on paper. And then it allowed me to dive back into the more than 82,000 photos I’ve taken since the beginning. When it was necessary to choose thirty on the other hand, there it was less easy. So I tried to best represent the twenty years of the concert hall, by selecting the photos that jumped out at me. There is my favorite photo, that of the blues singer Charlélie Couture who especially marked the 1980s, but also of the Toulouse metal group Shitfaced. Or the duo of singers from Albi Les Délinquante. I also wanted to show that all artists, however diverse they may be, are just as worthy of interest. Just be curious. And then you risk falling addicted, like me!

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