Once again the Rock en Seine music festival boasts a fantastic line-up. The Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, The Kills, My Chemical Romance, Anna Calvi, Interpol, The Vaccines, Archive, Tinie Tempah, The Wombats, Big Audio Dynamite, Trentemoller & The Horrors (to name a few) share the bill with popular French acts such as well-respected house music DJ & producer Etienne De Crecy, pop rock from BB Brunes and the delicious electro new wave pop of Sexy Sushi.
On my last visit to the festival I witnessed the break-up of Oasis just 10 minutes before they were due to headline the main stage. Lead singer of Bloc Party, Kele announced the rumour between songs and the crowd was filled in equal measures with gasps and cheers. Other highlights that weekend included Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Passion Pit, MGMT, Madness, The Horrors and an amazing set from the Prodigy who we shared the Eurostar train back with the next day.
Rock en Seine is situated in a northern suburb of Paris and as such almost guarantees good camping weather, unlike the UK festivals which can be marred by rain, rain and more rain. The festival is in the centre of town just 10km outside Paris and is on from Friday 26th August to Sunday 28th August; and the High Speed Train and Metro can get you there in a matter of a few hours.
If you are a fan or want to listen to more French music, Francophonik is a cool new service offering you the chance to win tickets and packages to French music gigs in the UK and festivals in France. Their latest competition is to win two tickets to Rock en Seine. All you have to do is visit the Francophonik Facebook page, become a fan, then apply for tickets by simply ticking a box.
Rock en Seine was born in 2003 and has grown into one of the biggest music festivals in France.
It happens every year on the last week-end of August, in a wonderful park just outside Paris. This year’s Rock en Seine festival will be held on 26, 27 & 28 August and will include Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, The Kills, Deftones, Interpol, My Chemical Romance, Big Audio Dynamite, Paul Kalbrenner, Cocorosie, Jamiaca, Keren Ann, Anna Calvi, BB Brunes and many more to be announced.
This is currently the only Foo Fighters show to be announced in France in 2011.
This year the Rock en Seine festival will be even bigger than last year with the introduction of a new stage that will make room for a further 15 artists to play over the weekend.
Rock en Seine 2011 Tickets
3-day Tickets are 109 Euros
Camping at Rock en Seine
The adjacent Rock en Seine campsite is located in the Domaine national de Saint-Cloud. Camping in this area will only be available through for the duration of the festival with festival tickets. The campsite access is strictly dedicated to the 3 days pass holders and must be paid in advance via the Rock en Seine website.
Please note: No camp tickets will be sold on the door. at the entrance.
Campsite for 2 people: 45 euros
Campsite for 4 people: 90 euros
Last year Eurostar invited us to a Little break to Rock En Seine 2009, one of the biggest music festivals in Paris.
With each year more and more English festivals goers travel to Rock en Seine and so this year the festivals organisers have decided to play up this already strong connection with England, by partnering up with one of the UK’s most popular festival on the Isle of Wight, Bestival.
Both festivals have teamed up to provide an exclusive event by blending two bands with outlandish live rock energy: They are the French from Naive New Beaters and the British from Où est le Swimming Pool.
Eurostar are running a competition to win a pair of three day passes to the Rock en Seine Festival. The prize includes two 3 day passes to Rock en Seine, two camping tickets and high speed return train travel on Eurostar for you and a friend.
To enter just visit Eurostars new Exploring is Beautiful site and leave a comment on their post saying which performer you’d most like to see at Rock en Seine and why and its as simple as that.
The Bank Holiday weekend seemed very long and yet went quickly with a fantastic trip to Paris on the Eurostar and onto Rock en Seine in Boulogne by Metro. A much more civilised way to travel to a music festival than queuing for hours in endless Somerset country lanes full of tractors and hippies.
Once in Boulogne (the one on the outskirts of Paris not the seaside resort) we were able to take a 15 minute walk to the festival which oddly but very conveniently was in the centre of town.
The festival was a friendly one, with most of the people working at the festival being able to speak English (which helped with my lack of French) and the festival-goers were of mixed age, plenty of families and absolutely drop-dead gorgeous French girls; all were very friendly and pleased that such a great line-up of bands, including some of their favourite artists, were playing in a suburb of Paris.
For me the music started with a great performance by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Friday afternoon and ended with a fantastic show from rave culture veterans, The Prodigy on Sunday night. Both groups are renowned for their live performances and both played out of their skins.
In between there were crates of champagne, good quality doner kebabs and great performances from the likes of Passion Pit, Metric, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Klaxons, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and Madness. After playing to a large and very appreciative audience I would like everyone to know how good it was for Madness to go and play a second set in one day as they took the audience One Step Beyond by stepping in at short notice to dispel an angry crowd shocked by the selfless, arrogant and pathetic attitude of the Gallagher brothers.
There was also a polished & professional set from recently reformed Faith No More that started with an acapello set opening version of the classic Ashford & Simpson ballad Reunited & included the Eastenders theme tune which they also referenced – totally bizarre!
Over the course of three days the shows played out on three stages with performance times allowing the audience to get from one stage to another to catch almost every show.
Bloc Party put in a great show, as always on the second stage on Friday night and after several jibes from lead singer/guitarist Kelechukwu “Kele” Rowland Okereke at the “inbred twins” (Oasis) he was only too delighted to tell the audience that news had filtered through from his tour manager that the northern monkeys had just cancelled minutes before they were due to headline the main stage and officially split-up. I wished they had imploded on stage rather than the dressing room and everyone was witness to how rubbish Noel & Liam Gallagher really are at fighting – and yes I would gladly take Liam on for charity, as long as it was televised.
I also wish I had told the angry mob where the two Oasis tour buses were. Call me an old fashioned anarchist. But there is nothing more beautiful than direct action. I would have loved it (Kevin Keegan style) if the crowd had given Liam Gallagher an ultimatum – do or die.
There was No Waysis but the Rock en Seine show went on; and apart from digs and jokes like “we were thinking of splitting up today” (The Offspring) Friday evening was capped by a fantastic live set from techno wizard Vitalic.
Unfortunately I missed The Horrors, Birdy Nam Nam and Just Jack. But only wish I had not bothered with b who were hugely disappointing. Before the performance I was asking everyone if they could suggest a better rhythm section than Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin). After the performance I realised a super group also needs super songs and Les Petit Pois were a waste of time. Next time can the super group be The Dead Weather?
The festival highlights for me were Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Prodigy (though I wish they had started with Wonderwall), meeting lots of beautiful people and a sterling performance from Calvin Harris which delighted the audience so much than one stripped down to his pants just minutes after I jokingly suggested to friend and writer of My Chemical Toilet, that he would.
One day all music festivals and trips to France will be this good. Until then, there is always Rock en Seine.