Les Vieilles Charrues Festival is an annual music festival held on the outskirts of the city of Carhaix, Western Brittany, France in mid-July, established in 1992.
Though originally held in Landelau, Les Vielles Charrues soon outgrew its tiny venue, to become the largest music festival in France, moving to Carhaix in 1995, first occupying the city centre, and later moving to its outskirts due to further space constraints in 1998.
Every year, over 200,000 festival goers flock to the festivals' venue, next to the Chateau Kerampuil, over the course of its four days.
Among the acts performing this year are: Rammstein, The Hives, Phoenix, Elton John, Two Door Cinema Club, Santana, Alt-J, Vitalic, The Vaccines, Gentleman, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Busy P and more.
The full line-up can be found on the main festival website.
Past line-ups have seen Portishead, The Cure and Bob Dylan play in 2012, Snoop Dogg, M.I.A. and Lou Reed in 2011, and Muse and Jamiroquai in 2010.
Located about 45 minutes inland from the coast of the West Brittany region, and held during the height of the region's summer season, Vieilles Charrues makes for a particularly picturesque festival experience, where punters are said to be relaxed and friendly. It's famous for its inclusive atmosphere, welcoming people of all ages. The festival is also famous for its food and drink, which incorporates uniquely French luxury, including numerous Champagne tents across the site and a wide selection of local craft Ciders, as well as regional cheeses and fruits.
HISTORY & FACTS
Vieilles Charrues was initially established in 1992 and attracted only 500 punters. At that time, it was held in Landelau, Finistere. In 1995, it moved to central Carhaix, due to popular demand for tickets and later, moved to fields once owned by the familie de Saisy de Kerampuil when the festival's demand increased once again. In 2012, it celebrated its 20th birthday with headline slots featuring The Cure, Portishead, Sting and Bob Dylan.
At present, Vieilles Charrues divides its acts between four stages:
Glenmor Stage & Kerouac Stage (The two biggest stages)
Grall Stage & Youenn Gwernig Stage (The smaller stages, reserved for more up & coming acts.)
The Beachbox stage is a small caravan structure, which often hosts French independent acts.
TICKETS & TRAVEL
Tickets for the festival can be purchased via the main festival website and come in a number of packages. The festival runs a partnership with ONTOURS, meaning ticket and travel costs can be combined. This option can be researched and found on the Vieilles Charrues website.
Other outlets for purchasing tickets can be found on the main festival website.
At present, 4-day passes are sold out on the festival website.
Tickets can be legally sold and exchanged through Zepass.
The festival actively discourages flights as a method of travel in order to encourage eco-friendly methods instead.
For UK-goers, Brittany can be reached by coach and/or ferry.
Children are welcome at Vieilles Charrues, and those between 9 and 14 may attend the festival for half the full adult price. Children below the age of 9 are able to attend for free. ID authorisation is strictly enforced throughout the festival.
'Red Oak', an information point at the centre of the campsite, offers a lost children collection point.
While the festival itself welcomes disabled punters, those travelling from outside France (and specifically by ferry) may find some limitations while travelling, and are recommended to travel with an able-bodied companion. Brittany Ferries offer some advice and a full list of their facilities for disabled passengers on their website.
Parking for disabled attendees is reserved 300m from the festival site and disabled toilet facilities are available and easily accessible throughout the festival and its campsites.
An area of 250 squared metres houses platforms for disabled attendees, allowing them to see acts more clearly.
WHAT TO WEAR
Despite being held during the height of summer, Brittany can experience rain across the festival's four days, so wellies and practical wear are recommended.
Vieilles Charrues also operates a fancy-dress friendly dresscode, however, often opting for themes which are reflected in the festival's decor. Matching the theme with your costume is not necessary, though, only encouraged.
Campsite passes are free to ticket holders.
The main tent-only campsite, which spans over 30 hectares, is located opposite the festival itself, and is separated into a number of smaller campsites, and ticket holders must present their tickets to enter. It is open 24 hours, but the festival itself opens early afternoon, usually for a 4pm kick-off.
The main campsite has recycling facilities
Not all campsites have good toilet facilities. Around 4 or 5 campsites do, but even if you stay in one without immediate access, you'll never be further than 5 minutes from clean toilet facilities, as all smaller campsites are within very close proximity to one another.
Showers are located at the entrance of each campsite.
The following items are prohibited from the campsite:
- Glass bottles.
- Fireworks or sparklers.
- Burners and other gas systems.
- Sharp objects.
- Cars, motorcycles, trailers, caravans, camper.
- Alcohol or illegal substances
ATMs are a bit sparse outside the festival, because its held relatively far out from the centre of Carhaix. Luckily, there are plenty of ATMs within the confines of the festival, which will be marked on the map you are given as a ticket holder upon entry. Alternatively, they are also marked on maps at a number of information points across the festival. If you are travelling by ferry from the UK, Brittany ferries, among other travel providers, also offer ATM services on board.
Information points are to the right of the entrance on the esplanade and in the center of the site (the Red Oak). Here you can get the brochure schedules, transport timetables, maps, condoms, ear plugs and relocate lost children.
Terminals to recharge phones are available on the LICO stand.
Since campervans and caravans are not allowed on the main campsite, the following sites are recommended for caravan users:
-Christine Marie Riou, Carhaix-Plouguer (29270) -THE GOUZE Maria, Carhaix-Plouguer (29270) -Roudart Paulette, Carhaix-Plouguer (29270)
There are also a number of homestays in close proximity to the festival site, including:
-Gwen Follorou, Carhaix-Plouguer (29270) -Isabelle QUEMENER, Carhaix-Plouguer (29270) -THE MEHAUTE Elena, Carhaix-Plouguer (29270)
FOOD AND DRINK
There are over 25 food and drink stalls throughout the festival, offering mostly local craft ciders and french cheeses and champagne.