On Sunday, September 4, the organization called Festival d’Ile-de-France opened its end-of-summer concert series with an outdoor music festival at Domaine de Villarceaux. The domain is located in Val-d’Oise, an administrative départment in the Ile-de-France region.
Hundreds of people (as well as some eighty performers) braved uncertain weather to hear fifteen groups play traditional Breton folk music, as well as jazz, and, in the case of the group N’Diale, Breton-Malian fusion.
For me, the day started with a 45-minute metro ride to Porte de Saint-Cloud to get on a navette (shuttle bus) for the one-hour ride to the festival grounds. At the bus stop, two lovely young women verified my ticket and invited me to get aboard. I got a front-row seat, giving me an unhindered view of the road as the bus wended its way to the concert grounds.
I was prepared for rain, but the only serious precipitation came during the last act around 5:30 p.m. The deluge stopped the Alan Stivell quartet in mid-performance and sent spectators scurrying for cover. It was too bad, because their fusion rock music was a pleasure to listen to!
Being one of the first off the bus, I hoped that I could quickly get to the Ty Lichous food stand to try one of their Breton specialties, but arriving there I saw that about fifty people were already in line (many concert goers had arrived by car). I settled for a falafel sandwich from La Rose d’Orient stand, whose line was very short. Does the popularity of the Breton food stand over the Lebanese one give any indication of the ethnic makeup of the majority of the concert attendees? I believe it does!
There would be another indication later, when dozens of people formed circles on a large outdoor dance floor and danced what I believe were traditional Breton dances to the folk music performed there.
I decided to explore the grounds first before watching the concerts. The area is a vast park and wood, and a château sits on top of a hill. I climbed all the way up, and walked beyond the château to a great gate that was locked tight and bristling with spikes.
To be continued…
Like our blog? Join us on Facebook!