At the end of the afternoon, three of the leaders of Rock en Seine, organized at the National domain of Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine), were satisfied. After two years without a festival, due to health restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the public was massively present at the last, chronologically, of the major rock festivals of the summer.
These are « 150,000 people who came » to the site, said Matthieu Ducos, director of the festival. The maximum reception capacity, of “40,000 people, was reached on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday”, leaving an attendance of 30,000 people on Friday alone. A success due in part “to a few exclusives” – including Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Kraftwerk, James Blake… –, specified Emmanuel Hoog, general manager of Combat, the group which brings together participations in the media and culture of the businessman Matthieu Pigasse (individual shareholder of Le Monde), who owns, in equal shares with AEG Presents France – one of the divisions of the American giant AEG – the festival.
A Golden Pit that can accommodate 3,000 people
Arnaud Meersseman, general manager of AEG Presents France, took the lead in discussing « the angry question », a controversy that stirred social networks. That of the Golden Pit, a space reserved in front of the main stage for a small part of the public who have paid a supplement on the entrance price: instead of 69 euros for the normal price, 89 euros to have access to it or 99 euros to benefit in addition to the conveniences of the « garden », behind the same large stage. A few deckchairs, tables, tents – including the small one that serves as a workspace for the press – and less crowded toilets.
The extension and installation of the VIP area have been the cause of several messages on social networks and protests from the public this year.
The establishment of a reserved space with additional cost was inaugurated in 2018 at Rock en Seine, without causing a stir. But it is its location, in front of the big stage, and the extension of its surface that this year were the cause of a few messages on social networks
and protests from the public, which returned to the ears of the organizers. The previous VIP access, now Golden Pit – to which the press does not have access – had been installed on one side of the main stage, delimited by metal barriers, for a few hundred people.
There it could accommodate up to 3,000 people, occupying a length of around 25 meters half the front of the main stage, with a depth forcing fans who like to be in the front rows to move back around 15 meters .Which fans having noticed, like us, that apart from the big concert in the evening, where it was full, the Golden Pit was much less full the rest of the time. Mr. Meersseman, after recalling that identical placeholders, generally titled “golden square”, have existed for years in many halls, arenas and stadiums, said that the team would “reflect” the size and location of the structure for the next edition of the festival.
The intensity of Nick Cave and the psychedelia of Tame Impala
To return to the essential, the music, more than eighty formations were on the bill. If the first day, Thursday August 25, presented a majority of guitar rock groups (excellent performances by Yard Act or Idles), pop, soul, funk, electro were then on the program. Among the moments that seemed to us the most striking on Friday: the folk strangeness of New Zealander Aldous Harding, the psyche and krautrock flights of The Liminanas – with a visual tribute to the German group Can –, the pop fantasy of the four Londoners (who came from all over) from Los Bitchos, the show of Kraftwerk, the intensity of the night concert of the Australian Nick Cave.
On Saturday, American keyboardist Robert Glasper made his soul and hip-hop approach heard, nourished by his practice of jazz and his science of improvisation; alone at the piano or the guitar, the singer November Ultra, superb voice, provided moving moments; alone at the piano or the guitar, the singer November Ultra, superb voice, provided moving moments; Lewis OfMan, with three keyboards, including two Moogs, offered a traveling electro.
This Saturday ended with a big sound and light show with the Australian group Tame Impala, at its best when its psyche and pop past comes into play. From Sunday’s day – Stromae starring at the end – we will especially remember the sensitive, sometimes fragile pop of the English woman Holly Humberstone, the afro-beat and funky groove of the Neapolitans of Nu Genea Live Band, with percussion, saxophone, power vocals of the singer, as well as the soul and pop class of Londoner Olivia Dean.