Les Francofolies Take Over Blagoevgrad
Blagoevgrad has hardly been a major venue for any of the world’s major disc jockeys and music producers, who have usually opted for either the Bulgarian capital to stage their rock music concerts (e.g., Aerosmith and Iron Maiden in 2014) and classical composition pieces (e.g., Ennio Morricone in 2013), or the Bulgarian seaside to drop some beats with house remixes and techno music (e. g., David Guetta at the Summer Solar Festival in Nessebar in 2012).
That is why it came as a surprise to the Blagoevgrad community when the Les Francofolies tour, a widely-renowned festival providing the stage for the performances of distinguished French artists and groups, decided to choose Blagoevgrad as a host town for their three-day music fair.
The show that started on Thursday, Sep. 24 brought to the stage some of the grand names of the French music. None other than the famous Bob Sinclair, Caravan Palace, Soprano, Patricia Kaas and DJ FEDER took it to the festival podium at the main square and exhilarated the Bulgarian crowd for a total of over 13 hours of upbeat French tunes in the short time span of just three days. Genres varied widely, as
French house, hip house, electronic, jazz, pop, French rock, jazz rock, hip-hop, pop and even electro swing were all performed.
A significant part of AUBG community attended the concert. Diana Elagina, a second-year student, shared her surprise seeing Les Francofolies perform in Blagoevgrad while also pinpointing the positive energy of each and every one of the artists. “Me and my friends took a lot pictures and videos of those performances, which we later sent to our families and friends abroad,” she said. “I hope that such festivals would take place in Blagoevgrad as often as possible.”
Talking about some of the performers on the first day of the festival, Diana named the two she enjoyed the most. “I liked both performances I visited, of Patricia Kaas and Bob Sinclair,” she said. “Each of the artists has their own special atmosphere, with which they charge the public.” When asked about the songs she enjoyed the most, she went for “Love Generation” and “Everybody Dance Now” by Bob Sinclair and “Mademoiselle Chante le Blues” and “Mon Mec A Moi” by Patricia Kaas.
Since its initiation in the early 1990s, the festival has taken over a number of countries and cities with the vocal talent of its performers. The main annual venue of the music fair is the town of La Rochelle in Western France, with a population of about 80,000 people. Despite the tradition of performing there, Les Francofolies have also gone to Spa, Belgium, and as far away as Montreal, New York and Berlin to share their love for the French music.
Les Francofolies visited Bulgaria before, with three festivals during the post-communist years of 1991 through 1993. Back then, in 1993, on the main square of the city were singing the pop singer Véronique Sanson, jazz star Charles Aznavour and even Celine Dion herself. Despite more than a 20-year break before coming back to Blagoevgrad, the festival has kept its fame for bringing in some of the top French music entertainers.
The largest contribution for the invitation, the subsequent funds supply and organization of the whole event was of the city’s mayor Atanas Kambitov. The festival’s director Gerard Pons, the ambassador of France in Bulgaria Xavie Leper de Kaban, and the minister of culture in Bulgaria Vezhdi Rashidov, all greeted and thanked the mayor for the his devotion and four years of negotiations that finally provided the city with the opportunity to host the festival. Kambitov, in return, shared his hopes for a continuous hosting of the festival in Blagoevgrad, one day turning it into an emblem of the city.
The photos used in this article are courtesy of Simeon Stoichkoff Photography.