Solidays Sparks Celebrations

It started at the end of June when Solidays pulled 175,237 people across three days, raising euro 2.2 million ($3 million) for good causes, but subsequently Main Square Festival in Arras and Les Eurockeennes De Belfort have also recorded record-breaking attendances. 

It’s almost as if Les Bleus’ (or Les Miserables) exit from the World Cup tournament sent the French out to seek comfort in the festival fields.

There were 127,000 near the Swiss and German borders at Belfort for Eurockeenes’ 25th anniversary bash, while Live Nation’s urban festival at the Napoleonic fort at Arras broke records by doing 135,000 across four days.

Solidays, which is organised by a charitable NGO and its volunteers at Longchamp, a horseracing track on the outskirts of Paris, will hand over a huge chunk of money for such projects as supporting people with AIDS. Its support for humanitarian causes means it often attracts special visitors, which this year included American business magnate Bill Gates and French President François Hollande.

The acts providing the entertainment June 27-29 included Franz Ferdinand, James Vincent McMorrow, De La Soul, Woodkid, Vanessa Paradis, and Triggerfinger.

The performers involved in Solidays accept a reduced fee or appear for free as a sign of solidarity.

At Arras LN added a fourth day to the festival that was started by Belgian promoter Herman Schueremans and is loosely twinned with Rock Werchter.

The extra day obviously helped but strip that out and the remaining three days beat the old three-day record.

The acts playing Arras July 3-6 included Iron Maiden, Skrillex, Alice In Chains, The Black Keys, Foals, Anna Calvi, and Paul Kalkbrenner.

Over the same weekend Les Eurockeennes had The Black Keys, Pixies, Skrillex, Franz Ferdinand, Fauve, and Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters.