Festivals In France
There are probably more festivals in France than in any other European country and they’re almost all combined with the French love of camping. Festival season begins in mid-April and runs through to the autumn, though the events later in the season tend to be located in the south, to take advantage of the warmer weather.
Nuits Sonores is an electronic dance festival held in Lyon – about 6 and a half hours’ drive from Dieppe and 7 hours from Dunkirk and Calais – which takes place in early May each year. Each year, Nuits Sonores welcomes in dance music’s royalty, particularly in the fields of house and techno. Top names who have performed in the past include; Seth Troxler, Laurent Garnier, Kraftwerk, Maceo Plex and more.
This festival has been held every year since 1999, with all profits going to support AIDS charities in France and Africa with the artists performing also appearing for a reduced or no fee. It takes place on the Longchamps racecourse, near Paris, and attracts around 175,000 visitors each year. Taking place in late June each year, you’re likely to see a range of acts including cool indie bands like Bloc Party or Franz Ferdinand, rap crews like Flatbush Zombies, or artists like Vanessa Paradis. It’s also a very child friendly event and is only around 2 hours’ drive from Dieppe and 3 hours from Dunkirk and Calais.
Rock en Seine
Rock en Seine is France’s biggest rock music festival, taking place each year in late August in the Domaine Nationale de Saint Cloud, a little way outside Paris to the west. It first began in 2003 when there were a total of 10 artists and a crowd of 22,000. Each year you’ll see anything up to 70 artists appearing, including megastars such as Arctic Monkeys or cult heroes The Prodigy or Massive Attacks.
With a name matching the intensity of the music, Hellfest is a must-visit for heavy metal fans. A self-proclaimed “extreme” music festival which does nothing by halves, you can expect to see legends of heavy metal’s various subgenres including Slipknot, Judas Priest, the Scorpions and more, take the stage towards the end of June each year.
France is probably not the first destination that springs into your mind when you think of traditional American folk music, but La Roche Bluegrass festival is among Europe’s best free festivals, taking place in early August in the market town of La Roche sur Foron. Meanwhile, Les Vieilles Charrues is known for getting killer bands to perform at reasonable ticket prices, taking place in Carhaix, Brittanny, in early July.
Best festivals to combine with a holiday
If you’re looking for a great festival to combine with a trip away, then look no further than Les Eurockéennes, with huge acts such as Disclosure, ZZ Top, The Black Keys or Skrillex performing, plus a wonderful location in Belfort, near the Swiss border and the mountains. Alternatively, try Electrobeach, a huge dance music festival taking place in Port Barcares each July - a fantastic holiday destination and festival experience in one!
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