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VIDEO. Atmosphere, concerts, sound, attendance: what results for Les Escales, the Saint-Nazaire festival?

Friday evening, Clara Luciani’s concert, after La Femme, was one of the great popular moments ©Coralie DURAND

the stopover festival It’s over this Sunday, July 31, 2022 on the port of Saint Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) with Morcheeba and Woodkid. The opportunity to draw the balance sheet with the organizers, the president Frédéric Petit and the director Gérald Chabaud.

Our video summary:

Satisfactory attendance

The festival recorded 41,000 paid admissions, “a figure to be adjusted in the coming days”, notes Frédéric Petit. Which of course represents many more people on the site, “around 13,000 on Friday, 17,000 on Saturday and 11,000 on Sunday”, announces Gérald Chabaud. “We are satisfied with the figures, because the budget had been built on a little less. We had started with 39,000 but with inflation on food, diesel, insurance, the balance was more around 40,000”.

Did the organizers have a concern about attendance? “No, not on that.”

The concern, when we opened the ticket office, is that we could not know the reaction of the spectators: were they going to come back? Were some going to be a little afraid of crowds, of Covid, of transmission? We were quickly reassured.

Among this year’s festival-goers were those who had kept their 2020 tickets. “Around 2,000 kept their passes. We can think that it is the faithful who do not ask themselves the question of programming ”.

Stopovers festival crowd scene of the port saint-nazaire
At Les Escales, the port stage (the largest) can bring together 14,000 spectators ©Coralie DURAND

The choice of the Globe Trotter concept

It was Les Escales that launched the concept of Globe Trotter, an international network of discovery festivals. A successful first for the organizers. “We are completely in the spirit of Les Escales, with discoveries. Globe-trotter, it’s nine festivals in all with us, which communicate with each other. Hit La Rosa, Steph Strings, were terrific hits”.

The objective is also that artists from the region can perform in the associated festivals. “It is bearing fruit, since the promoter of the Australian festival has invited Samifati, who performed on the Estuary stage, for their next edition. It’s a concert and it happens very quickly.

The 30th anniversary concert

It was a long-awaited moment, with great ambitions. And if certain moments were particularly successful, the patchwork side, between the rock energy of Ko Ko Mo, the tradition of Titi Robin and the hypnotizing sweetness of Ava disconcerted more than one. “It was a very difficult exercise, at first symbolically strong, with 17 groups from the region retracing their musical adventure through Les Escales”.

They are different groups, so making the connection was complicated, especially in the time 20syl had to do it.

Not easy either to start on the big port stage, when Gaëtan Roussel had not yet finished his triumph on the Espadon stage…

Stopovers festival crowd scene of the port saint-nazaire
During the 30th anniversary concert of Les Escales, Ko Ko Mo once again swept away everything in its path ©Coralie DURAND

Sound too loud?

Many have complained this year of an overstatement regarding the volume of decibels – some having heard the bass at the Immaculée! The consequence no doubt of the programming welcoming more electro than before but also of the will of the artists.

“We have a sound provider and our teams for a well-calibrated system allowing fidelity to what the artist wants, explains Gérald Chabaud. The artist arrives with his sound engineer and it is they who decide on the rendering, whether in terms of quality, frequency or power. And there, we are in the artistic fact and we have no right to touch it. You wouldn’t say to a painter, your touch of blue, it would be nice if it were darker. There it is the same. We could only intervene in the context where there would be a danger”.

Next year’s edition

Globe-trotter should be back in 2023. “We are working on it, says Frédéric Petit. The concept itself will endure. So, with the same? Maybe not, it can evolve. “These are festivals of very different sizes, from 3,000 to 400,000 people”, specifies Gérald Chabaud.

The idea is not to create a club of super big festivals, but to be about discovery, the defense of emerging artists and the sharing of skills and knowledge.

In any case, the city’s urban projects concerning Petit Maroc should not affect next year’s edition. For the rest, “we will be associated with the reflection”.

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