La Route du Rock Festival 2019
La Route du Rock takes place in Fort de Saint-Père, close to Saint-Malo, Brittany. It has been an important rock venue for the past 29 years, where oysters and windbreakers mingle and compete. For this year’s edition, rain, boots, legendary and emergent artists made the audience feel on top of the world for three solid days.
With this in mind, we entrusted our special collaborator and photographer, Camille Reposeur, to experience the uniqueness of this festival and share her adventure on UNCERTAIN.
Departing from my hometown in the South West France to meet Angèle, my festival buddy in Paris. The train station is crowded with holiday-makers and my backpack is full of films, lenses, cameras and a complete camp equipment. Angèle and I will spend a quiet afternoon to save our energy for the forthcoming intense days, as I know they will be.
We are up at the break of dawn, just before 6 A.M., to take an early bus, but there is not a single one around. We keep waiting until we realize that the day is off – needless to say, the anxiety starts crawling quickly. We must reach the station within 20 minutes, so we speed up despite our heavy load. We arrive just in time; it’s not even 7 A.M. and we are already exhausted! We eventually get on the bus to Saint-Malo and try to make the most out of the 6 hours and a half ahead of us. We’ve reached Brittany and now we’re waiting among other festival-goers for the famous shuttle that will take us to the Fort de Saint-Père, the home of the festival.
Here we are at last, in the middle of the fields. This is also where Angèle and I take separate ways since she is a volunteer at the festival and we don’t share the same campsite. I get my credentials before setting my tent and that’s when I come across Lauren, a friend from Toulouse. I decide to camp next to her and her gang. Now here comes Pauline, then Lea, one of my best friends from university, who works here as a lights operator.
I finally enter the festival. The site is very small, with only two stages facing each other. I join Angèle who is watching Pond. They will offer us 45 minutes of rock, psychedelic pop and dance, an excellent introduction before listening to their buddies Tame Impala later.
The Irish band Fontaines D.C. follows – the crowd is ready, the guys are very charismatic… But, alas! My analog camera refuses to work. I cannot take pictures, what am I gonna do? No sweat, my compact camera will take over. My vision of the festival will be less accurate and rougher, but I guess it’s part of the fun at La Route du Rock, so I will adapt.
I meet Lea and Angèle again to listen to the feisty IDLES. A delirious crowd welcomes them jumping into furious pogos, while the guitar players step down into the audience, increasing their ecstatic trance.
Excitement is building up for the headliner of the first day. Tame Impala opens their set with Let It Happen, the hymn of their Currents album. Three minutes into the show, confetti starts floating around. One after another, the hits mesmerize the audience and we also get to listen to three new songs from the long-awaited upcoming album. Another round of confetti closes the show.
Night falls on Jon Hopkins’s beats. I expected techno music but he takes us into his unique world right from the beginning. The rhythm and the visual effects got us dancing till we finally went to sleep.
It certainly wasn’t the quietest night, mainly because of all the shouting for “DRINKS!!!” you could hear in the campsite. However, I managed to regain my spirit slowly. I spent a cozy afternoon with Angèle lying in front of my tent, listening to music, chatting and dozing off before having a few beers and getting all set for the second day of this festival. The first band we stop to listen to is Foxwarren. Andy Sauf’s group charms us with their soft and melancholic rock, but later we immerse into the haunting world of the Turkish-Dutch group, Altin Gün, for a psychedelic and oriental rock experience.
We hang around the festival and it’s already time for Hot Chip. The show is full of energy and they seem very happy to be here. Clearly one of the best gigs of this festival. We exit completely exhausted but stop to see Crack Clouds, a must for 2019. We eventually decide to call it a night.
Sleeping is not a priority, while partying is, I say to myself after another short night.
Angèle and I proceed to go in the center of Saint-Malo for a taste of the famous crêpes bretonnes, a true delight. Once I get there, I also buy a raincoat that will turn out to be quite a clever idea. Time flies by and we must return to the campsite before the gigs start. First we meet Adelaide and Achille, two friends of Angèle with whom we grab some drinks and chat with our British neighbors. They’ve been playing great music for the past days, so we can’t help but dance together for a while.
Despite the rain, we’re walking joyfully towards the festival. We catch the end of the Handhabit’s show and soon after, I go to see Deerhunter for the first time, since I heard so much about them lately. Bradford Cox, the band leader, is wearing a yellow oilskin to keep him in tune with the spirit of the festival. The night has fallen and it is pouring continuously. Metronomy takes over the stage and I am delighted as I never got the chance to see them before. I am very excited and I know that they will meet and exceed my expectations. The crowd is jumping up and down as they hear the first notes of The Look and Love Letters and start singing all at once. Euphoria!
The rain finally stopped and the sun is back.. Folding up the tent and gathering all my stuff is quite an adventure in this slippery ground but I make it. Now it’s time to say au-revoir and make our way to the station, where the overcrowded festival shuttle is waiting for us. It seems like there are far more backpacks than festival-goers!
I will always remember this first experience at La Route du Rock, with its Breton rain, its unique gigs, the sound of the drinking parties at the campsite and the encounters that make this festival so special. I am nostalgic already and I cannot wait to return next year!
La Route du Rock Festival
Camille Reposeur is a French film photographer