The Wolf Settles In The Sheep Pen

Herman Schuermans’ arrival in the French festival market doesn’t appear to have had the negative impact local promoters once feared.

No one can show their festival attendances have dropped in the four years since he set up a new one on the Main Square at Arras, although about 34,000 people per day were there July 1-3.

When the Live Nation Belgium chief announced his new event, which rolled out in July 2008, a few French promoters were up in arms about Schueremans crossing the border to start what looked like a twin for his Rock Werchter festival in Belgium.

Salomon Hazot of Paris-based Nous Productions described Schueremans as “the wolf in the sheep pen,” and complained to the French live music union.

In April, Hazot sold Nous Productions to Warner Music Group, but he kept hold of his festival business and has since expanded it by introducing Sonisphere to the French market.

Further evidence that the wolf has settled quite well in the sheep pen came from Les Eurockeenes de Belfort, which took place on the same weekend as Main Square and also had Arcade Fire among its headliners.

It pulled about 32,000 fans per day to the Malsaucy peninsula for a lineup that also had Arctic Monkeys, Queens Of The Stone Age and Motorhead.

A statement following the festival heralded it as one of the most successful of its 23 editions.

Dominique Revert’s Festival Beauregard in southern France started a year after Main Square. It was also on the same weekend and nearly doubled in size by pulling 50,000 over three days.

This year’s Main Square also had Coldplay, Linkin Park, Chemical Brothers, Kaiser Chiefs, Elbow and White Lies.