Thursday 23 August 2007

Rencontres de Saint Chartier

Sat 14 - Sun 15 Jul
Saint Chartier

My first go at the Saint Chartier experience - for many years the premier hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe festival in France. I'd heard it from all sides, and it's true - it's a festival of 2 worlds - festival events inside the grounds of the Château, more informal outside in the village. Unfortunately the village streets were taken over by folk who were more interested in drinking than
music - not even drinking and music, which is a time-honoured pursuit after all. The 30 pipers in the photo were just about audible against the well of noise. The festival - and the village - has lived with this for several years now, and are looking at ways of securing it as an event for musicians and music lovers.

Inside was a different story - oodles of non-stop lovely music to listen and dance to, with a Scène Ouverte where some of the best things seemed to happen. The English band Red Dog Green Dog had the honour of closing the festival, and kept several hundred mostly French dancers going for 2 hours or more.

We'd stopped off there to see 2 bands - L'Ham de Foc from Valencia, and the French gypsy band Bratsch. L'Ham de Foc in particular were superb - even better live than on record.

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