Headliner Woes For Rock En Seine

Salomon Hazot is laying the blame for Rock En Seine’s crowd being down on the two headliners that pulled out 48 hours before his festival went on sale, although he isn’t naming either of the acts.

"They will know who they are," he told Pollstar shrugging off the fact that this year’s average per-day attendances were about 3,000 down on 2006.

What makes matters worse is that he stepped up from a two-day event to a three-dayer in a bid to fit in all the acts that he wanted on the bill August 24-26.

"I had long-standing agreements with both, but just before they were due on sale, I was told that it would be ‘too complicated’ for the acts to get here from Leeds," he said, letting slip that the names of the culprits can be found somewhere on the U.K.’s Carling Weekend bill.

"I laugh about it but it’s just nerves," he explained, pointing out that the 65,800 people who showed – against a three-day capacity of 75,000 – meant the festival would drop money this year.

"Yes, we lose and badly, but we should be good losers or we should stay at home or start doing something else," Hazot said. "I had to get new headliners and change the bill around and then maybe it wasn’t strong enough, but we win many times and we have to accept that it can’t be all the time.

"In France, it isn’t as if festivals are so established – like the Live Nation ones in Holland and Belgium – that people buy before the bill is announced. Here we depend on the right headliners and letting the people know that we have them."

Hazot was forced into another change when The Horrors pulled out because one of the band members broke his leg. He replaced them at the last minute with African fusion act Daby Toure.

"We put notices on the gates and made announcements, and so I thought it was very funny to hear some people in the crowd saying they didn’t know The Horrors were black," he explained.

He was still looking very much on the bright side, saying, "We were very lucky with the weather because it rained for three weeks before the festival, and then the sun came out and it was very hot throughout the three days."

Another plus was the positive reaction the event got from the major French papers.

The acts who did make it to the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud grounds included Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon, Faithless, The Hives, Bjork, Tool, The Fratellis, Mark Ronson, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Kelis and Enter Shikari.