At the end of the afternoon, Sunday August 28, 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, from Thursday August 25 to Sunday August 28, massively at the rendezvous of the last, chronologically, of the great rock festivals of the summer.
Those are “150,000 people who came” on the site, said Matthieu Ducos, festival director. The maximum capacity of “40,000 people, was reached on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday”, leaving on Friday alone an attendance of 30,000 people. A success due in part “a few exclusives” – including Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Kraftwerk, James Blake, etc. –, explained Emmanuel Hoog, managing director of Combat, the group that brings together the interests in the media and culture of businessman Matthieu Pigasse (shareholder as individual of World), which owns, equally 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, Managing Director of AEG Presents France, took the lead in discussing “the annoying question”, a controversy that has agitated social networks. That of the Goldent Pit, 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 plus the conveniences of the “garden”, behind the same large stage. A few deck chairs, 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 has been the cause of some 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 which this year were the cause of a few messages on social networks and protests from the public, which came back 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 the rest of the time much less full. Mr. Meersseman, after recalling that identical placeholders, generally titled “golden square”, have existed for years in many halls, arenas and stadiums, indicated that the team would “think” about the size and the location of the structure for the next edition of the festival.
The intensity of Nick Cave and the psychedelia of Tame Impala
To get back to basics, the music, more than eighty bands were on the bill. If the first day, Thursday August 25, presented a majority of rock groups with guitars (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 (coming from everywhere) of 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; Lewis Ofman, with three keyboards, including two Moogs, offered a traveling electro. This Saturday ended in great sound and light with the Australian group Tame Impala, at its best when its psyche and pop past is brought into play. fragile, by the Englishwoman Holly Humberstone, the afro-beat and funky groove of the Neapolitans of Nu Genea Live Band, with percussion, saxophone, the vocal power of the singer, as well as the soul and pop class of the Londoner Olivia Dean.