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The Festival des Vieilles Charrues

Celebrations and festivals Brittany Summer

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  • After several changes of location, the festival has now made the Kerampuilh festival site its home, a natural amphitheatre that can hold more than 53,000 people on each day of the festival © Jacqueline LEDOUX

Originally more like a private celebration organised between friends in the Breton countryside, this music festival located in the town of Carhaix is now attended by internationally renowned artists and some 250,000 spectators.

In 1992, no one would have imagined that right at the heart of the countryside of western France, a small private celebration between friends involving a few games and barbecues would one day become a music festival famous far beyond the borders of Brittany. But that was before the event had gained its ever-increasing following of incredibly enthusiastic participants and volunteers (almost 6,000 in 2012) which over the years have made this one of Europe’s leading music festivals.

Nowadays, the Vieilles Charrues stage is graced by internationally renowned artists. To name but a few, there was James Brown in 1997, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals in 1999, Noir Désir in 2001, and Bruce Springsteen and The Cure in 2012. Indeed, the festival welcomes an eclectic mix of artists, ranging from the rocky sounds of Rita Mitsouko to the poetry of Charles Aznavour.

The Jeunes Charrues

Since 1996, the Vieilles Charrues Festival has given talented young local artists the opportunity to have their music heard. These are the so-called “Jeunes Charrues”. Selected prior to the festival by a jury of professionals, these young artists are given staging advice and helped with their performance before actually playing a set during the Vieilles Charrues Festival.

A green festival

As well as being a celebration of music, the festival upholds the values of solidarity, activism and respect. A wide range of organisations, such as Amnesty International and the Fondation Abbé Pierre, set up stalls on site in order to inform and raise the awareness of festival goers. The event’s organisers are also committed to ensuring that the festival is run ecologically. They strive to reduce CO² emissions, save water and develop clean energy.

The official website of the Vieilles Charrues Festival