Amazing Summer festivals in the South West: what does 2020 hold?

Summer. Divine period of daily barbecues, refreshing swims under a blazing sun… and outdoor music festivals. From December, the suspense is unbearable: the first names of artists will be announced. We then oscillate between excitement and disappointment, but we are sure to find in the program some of our favorite artists among those announced. Sure? Really? Garorock,  now considered the biggest summer festival in New Aquitaine, has already unveiled part of its line-up for its 24thedition and the reactions on social networks are edifying. If some seem to find their account there, this question comes up regularly in comments:  Is rock music dead? A quick overview of what to expect for the 2020 vintage of summer festivals in the South West.

Garorock 24th edition: but where is the rock?

Little  Garorock  was born in Marmande , Lot-et-Garonne , in March 1997. In its early days, you could hear the Sheriffs, Ludwig von 88, or the Skatalites there, under a dark shed or sheltered from a marquee, in the middle of an industrial area. The entry price was ridiculous and the punk spirit ubiquitous. Success obliges, the repertoire has gradually been enriched with more international names, more consensual, but still rock. Then, when the festival moved to the  Plaine de la Filhole, an enchanting peninsula isolated from the world, at the very beginning of the summer holidays, we said to ourselves that it was certainly gaining momentum, but that it was still so nice. Iggy Pop and Bloc Party in Marmande… Surreal!

From year to year, the event has grown, the electro music DJs, who previously played at the very end of the evening, have been scheduled earlier, like the barely pubescent fashionable rappers, quite alone on their big stage. This is how rock gave way to rap and autotune. A trend that was confirmed in 2018, when a subsidiary of Vivendi bought the festival. No doubt a winning bet, since there were 160,000 spectators for the 2019 edition. But the soul of rock is no longer there. Among the first names for Garorock 2020 (June 25 to 28): are PNL, Rilès, and Koba LaD … when the organizers are asked the reasons for such a program, they answer that they are well obliged to adapt to their audience. Or which of the chicken or the egg came first…?

The “small” summer festivals in the South West are holding up!

Fortunately, other festivals, still independent, are resisting the commercial tsunami by offering a judicious mix of big names and complete strangers, with very diverse and perfectly assumed genres.

The Invasion of Lucanes in Libourne (May 22 and 23), very close to Bordeaux, offers us at the end of May a program that recalls that of Garorock in its beginnings: punk, dub, rock, with an ounce of electro in the late evening, for two days.

The Vie Sauvage festival (June 12 to 14), in Bourg-sur-Gironde, is undoubtedly the greenest of festivals in Aquitaine. Music, art, and gastronomy in a green theater overlooking an arm of the river. The new French scene is in the spotlight, like the magical Flavien Berger in 2019.

The Free Music Festival (from June 19 to 21)  in Montendre, like an ode to the first day of summer, welcomes the cream of the French pop, rock, folk, rap, and reggae scene every year, with a few international guests.

Musicalarue (July 31 to August 2), in the small village of Luxey (Landes). Imagine a village of 666 inhabitants (approximately) which, in the heart of summer, is closed to the circulation of cars and other wheeled polluters, and devotes itself body and soul to street arts and music for 3 days. Family-friendly, it attracts more people every year. In 2019, you could enjoy a glass of wine to the sound of local bands, then follow up with Patty Smith (superb) and Marcel and his Orchestra (joyfully wacky), in a painless and wonderful gender gap.

The Black Bass Festival is a 100% voluntary festival held at the end of August in the Blayais marshes (Gironde). Here, no doubt, rock is not dead. Punk, noise, garage, psyche… and independent! Essential: the air guitar competition.


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