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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Festival Preview: Vieilles Charrues

What started as a humble French fete has become a leading international festival, but this Gallic event has not forgotten its roots.

Written by Cari Steel

Fanfarlo pic

Today we are going to be popping over the channel in our search for the finest music festivals of the summer. In our bid to find an eclectic, look inspired and enticing line-up we find ourselves at the doorstep of what is regarded as Glastonbury’s Gallic cousin. A worthy title for sure, mind but deservedly so; having gone from being a tiny local get-together – when it was first held in 1992, les Vieilles Charrues was more village fete then international music hub- it has become France’s most frequented music festival, with over 200,000 expected to attend this year.

Held every year in the town of Carhaix in western Brittany, the festival also serves as a convenient base to explore the spectacular coastline (think harbours, fishing ports and islands dotted around the peninsula) although if you are just here for the music, we won’t hold that against you. Vieilles Charrues has been steadily achieving the kind of dream line-up that leaves many other festivals in the shade; in the past it has played host to a savvy and diversified combination of big name acts (Massive Attack, Beck, Death In Vegas, Kings Of Leon), and upcoming talent. This years festival has headlining performances by Phoenix, Julian Casablancas, Muse, Fanfarlo, The Raveonettes, Dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip and Midlake, as well as plenty of French bands to discover, such as Chapelier Fou, Revolver and Fefe.

Visiting happy campers have a myriad of ways to arrive at Vieilles Charrues; TGV Rail has a service into Carhaix, and for ticket holders arriving by road, car sharing is encouraged (the organisation of Vieilles Charrues aims to make the festival as sustainable as possible, and this includes the transport) but the ideal way to travel has been worked into the 3 day ticket offer; crossing the channel by ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, with coach transfers to Carhaix. (Check the website for prices). Without transport, a 3 day pass works out at a very reasonable 84 Euros, this gives you full access to the camping site, and day tickets are available for 35 Euros.

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