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UpBeat - Summer Breeze

UpBeat - Summer Breeze

Summer in France has long been Festival Season, but live music can happen anywhere as Roger Moss finds out...



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So, summer finally breezed in after all, just in time to provide perfect weather for some great outdoor music events to the relief of organisers and audiences alike. The even better news is that summer is far from over with lots of incredibly varied live music still to come from festivals to modest, but ever popular, village affairs. Southwest France is big, though, and when you look around at what’s coming up, then wherever you live there’s a good chance that something you really want to see will be happening rather further away than you’d normally consider travelling. But if you really love your music, and the sun is shining, then it could well be worth planning a special trip. Spend some time getting to know an unfam-iliar area and at the end of the day, round it all off with a magical concert you’ll remember for a long time. After all, when summer’s here then anything is possible.

By way of inspiration, we’ve been sifting through the event listings which seem to offer something for everyone, whatever their musical taste – and the settings are often spectacular. For example (and well worth a special trip), throughout the summer, many of the Loire châteaux stage Son et Lumière events. See for a list, including the romantic Château d’Azay-le-Rideau – nightly performances run until the 24 Aug (, 02 47 45 42 04). The three-day Face et Si Festival at Mouilleron-le-Captif, La Roche-sur-Yon (85) runs from the 6-8 Sept, with some well-known names appearing: Meanwhile, for somewhere more centrally located, Niort’s newly restyled city centre is staging free open air concerts every Thursday evening until 22 Aug. For information see:, 05 49 24 88 27.

If you’re a fan of brass and percussion, the 20th edition of the Cuivres en Fête festival takes place from 17-25 Aug in Saint-Junien, and from 16 Aug throughout the Limousin region. There’s an international line-up, the varying ensembles performing a mix of styles (, 05 55 41 65 60). Or perhaps Confolens’ annual Festival des Danses et Musiques du Monde is more your style. The 56th edition runs from 13-18 Aug, and around 100,000 visitors each year make this a real flagship event.

Full details at:, 05 45 84 00 77.

For something less full-on, Les Heures Vagabondes 2013 runs until 17 Aug, and presents a series of free concerts (soul, rock, jazz, world music, etc.) around the Vienne with those in Valdivienne, Ceaux en Loudun, Pressac, Celle L’Evescault, Mirebeau, Antran, L’Isle Jourdain, Dissay and Monts sur Guesnes still to come ( Talking of jazz, the 4th Festival Jazz au Phare happens from 18-21 Aug in a unique setting beside the Phare des Baleines, Saint-Clément-des-Baleines, Ile de Ré. Information:, 07 88 32 66 83. Or if you simply want to be carried away by a wave of festival rock, the 16th Laryrock Festival will be powering it out on 10 Aug at the Plan d’Eau du Lary near Chevançeaux (17). Details:

For something considerably more soothing, the 14th Soirées Lyriques de Sanxay will be presenting Madame Butterfly (Puccini) from 8-12 Aug 2013 in the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre of Sanxay (79):, 05 49 44 95 38. And if this issue’s featured garden has inspired you, then don’t miss a series of Baroque concerts by Les Arts Florrissants de William Christie in the conductor’s own gardens in Thiré (85) from 24-31 Aug. Details: