Convicted Murderer Bertrand Cantat Cancels Festival Appearances In France

Bertrand Cantat, the French rock singer who, 15 years ago, killed actress Marie Trintignant, with whom he had an affair, has cancelled his festival appearances after promoters faced public pressure.

Bertrand Cantat
Erick James/WireImage
– Bertrand Cantat
Détroit performs live during the 38th Printemps de Bourges on April 24th, 2014 in Bourges, France

A couple of French festivals had booked Cantat, who rose to fame with bands like Noir Désir or Détroit and has remained popular, for their upcoming editions. One of them, Papillons de Nuit festival, which takes place in Saint-Laurent-de-Cuve in the French region of Normandy, May 18-20, was singled-out by the creator of an online petition a few weeks ago.

Valérie Dontenwille demanded that the festival’s promoter R.O.C. en Baie, as well as Frank Esnouf, the mayor of Saint-Laurent-de-Cuve, drop Cantat from their line-up. The petition has so far gathered more than 75,000 signatures, and is currently aiming for 150,000.

On Feb. 23, the organizers of Papillons de Nuit released a lengthy statement to the public, explaining why they did not think dropping Cantat was the right way to go. They emphasized that they chose all bookings based on their artistic merit, and pointed out that every citizen had the right to a professional life after serving their time. When Cantat was convicted in 2004, the court ruled that he murdered Trintignant without the intent to kill, and sentenced him to eight years in prison, of which he served only four due to his conduct in jail.

Other festivals reportedly did drop the artist once the public protest picked up speed. On March 12 the artist took the decision out of the promoters’ hands and announced that, “to put an end to all the controversy and to stop the pressure on the organizers, I decided to withdraw from all summer festivals.”

Cantat wrote: “I paid the debt that the court had sentenced me to, I served my sentence, I did not receive privileges, and today I wish, like any other citizen, the right to reintegration, the right to exercise my profession, the right for my relatives to live in France without pressure or slander, the right for the public to come to my concerts and listen to my music.”

Cantat is still going to play concerts, though. His tour through France is currently in Grenoble at La Belle Electrique for two shows, March 13-14. His Mach 16 gig at L’Usine in Istres was called-off by the promoters Scènes et Cinés. So far, his remaining schedule trough August remains intact.

After Cantat released his solo-album last year, and it became apparent he would be touring again, Nadine Trintignant, the mother of Cantat’s victim, told France 2 that she found it “shameful, indecent, disgusting,” that he was going back on stage. According to, Cantat had promised not to return to the stage as long as Maria Trintignant’s parent’s were still alive. In his latest statement, Cantat renewed his “most sincere, profound and total compassion to Mary’s family and loved ones.”