Their 29th edition, this Wednesday July 20 and Thursday July 21, 2022, intends to reconnect with its audience, almost as before COVID-19. Almost, because the festival is constantly renewing its approach to events. The question of sustainability and ecological responsibility keeps the team’s brains spinning.
To achieve this ecological transition of the festival, the team is clever. “We reuse everything we can, we tinker a bit, we recycle,” explains Maryline Régent. In charge of communication, she has been with Le 4Bis on the project for 17 years. “It’s a real year-round reflection”, specifies Lucien Vergès, programmer.
A historic green sensibility
Quartiers d’été is even a founding member of the collective of festivals committed to sustainable and inclusive development. For example, they have signed the Drastic on Plastic charter, which requires many changes. “There are no bottles, only water fountains. All the signage is plastic-free,” says Lucien.
“We have been working on our questions for 15 years,” adds Maryline. “We were at the start of all the devices at Breton festivals, such as the eco-cups”. Their green sensibility is expressed even in the activities of the Festival Village, with workshops and information stands accessible from 4 p.m. “Young people are sensitive to all that, they are demanding,” insists Lucien. His colleague nods, smiling: “Even among volunteers, the waste sorting team is in high demand”.
A festival that wants to “remain on a human scale”
Faced with the climate emergency, many festivals, aware of the earth’s resources consumed, are seeking to rethink their operations. Maryline is lucid: “It’s crazy logistics, we have to rethink everything”. The future of Quartiers d’été, too, is preparing in the green.
The festival is launching a solidarity shop to prepare for its 30th summer, with “sumpers, caps, tote bags bearing the image of the festival”, she explains. The whole, made “by a seamstress who started locally in Rennes and tends towards organic textiles”. Nothing made wholesale, abroad, “it goes directly from the workshop to Quartiers d’été”.
“Once it’s redesigned, it’s easy,” admits Lucien. To get there, however, you have to move away from festivals “which are constantly increasing their gauge, and stay in a festival on a human scale”. Lucien gives the example of a festival in Belgium, which returned to a small gauge because of COVID-19, and which finally preferred to stay on these figures. “It’s more interesting to go to these festivals”, he explains, “we take the time to talk, to meet”.
Parity, accessibility, diversity: the challenges of Quartiers d’été
Beyond the ecological aspect, the Quartiers d’été festival works on many social issues. This can be found even in their themes, which this year revolve around the climate emergency and diversity. In the broad sense, specifies Lucien, for whom these notions “are part of the DNA of Quartiers d’été”.
With a smile, the festival programmer adds that Quartiers d’été “tends towards parity”. A mission that is not easy, not because the musical scenes they explore are devoid of women, but because they are often accompanied on stage. “We are there on the artistic lead”, confides Lucien, “but not in number”.
Mixed gender, age, origin, the festival at the Parc des Gayeulles wants to be accessible to all. Lucien explains, for example, that “the Sunrise stage becomes a platform for people with reduced mobility to see the concert in the best possible conditions”.
Quartiers d’été, the festival known in the community
On the musical side, the festival still assumes its identity: the scene is rap-oriented, Wednesday evening. Thursday, she is moving towards “a little electro, but not necessarily sounds from here”. It’s a festival where rappers know that the public will give “a very warm atmosphere”. Lucien confides, “When they have choices to make, they know how to lower the fees”. Star system or not, Summer Quarters makes no preference.
“We highlight our young artists. There we find 7 that Le 4bis accompanies throughout the year, to whom we give the same presentation as the headliners,” explains Lucien. Summer Quarters, after all, is organized by and for these young people. For this 29th summer, they are 153, aged 14 to 26, to have committed to the festival. They will welcome nearly 8,000 festival-goers for an edition that “ends up dancing to the end”, promises Maryline with a smile.
What does the program of Quartiers d’été look like?
Amateur of French rap and Afro-beats, lovers of electro or k-pop, Quartiers d’été is made for everyone. Wednesday, July 20, 6 artists embark on a rap evening. Mared, who “comes from the Maurepas district and played on the small stage 5-6 years ago”. Tallou, “who has a very beautiful voice”, presents his new project.
Randy, “with a huge smile and a head straight out of the 80s”, who is “hyper explosive on stage”. Yung Poor Alo, “has signed with a Parisian label, and he will defend Rennes music nationally”. Vicky R, fascinating, who is part of “the Chilla clique”. In replacement of Nahir, BB Jacques, who “rapped well before his passage in the New School”, with a “very creative” universe.
Thursday, rap gives way to electro and pop. 6 new heads come to ensure the hips. The Holo Neon Crew, with a dozen people from Rennes who sing and dance k-pop, “which is taking up more and more space among young people”. Mel, “somewhat referenced as Laylow”.
Looshan, who aims “to make people dance, all alone behind his machines”, with afro-house. Kandy Guira, for Afro “very dancing with a DJ from Rennes who puts scratches on the show”. Pfel and Greem, from the group C2C, “who are coming back with a very hip-hop 2-person project” to shake things up until the last hour.