Under 180,000 suns at Francofolies

The 20th edition finished Sunday to mostly positive reviews

Obispo, Raphael and Stephan Eicher were stars

The R’tardataires and Lisa Leblanc were the winners

It’s still too early to say if the sunshine and constant heat over five days were enough to bring ticket sales for Spa’s Francos out of the red. At the time of the traditional accounting of the event’s twentieth anniversary edition which had turned into a birthday celebration from the beginning, it’s clear that it was a big success with the crowd. With 180,000 festival goers Spa was at its best with good musical numbers and scenes of celebration. The streets were full of people and there were plenty of journalists from Quebec who wished us a happy holiday beginning at dawn on July 21. With their “I Love Phil I”, stickers our transatlantic friends reminded us of what it is to feel a part of a nation.

That said, we also have to keep a cool head and not start saying that all the concerts were solid and sold-out. You had to attend the Pascal Obispo concert to see a really full room at City Hall. At the same time in the Village Raphael had to deal with an exodus of audience members leaving during an unrelenting concert.

Far from criticizing him, Raphael delivered a very good set, musically quite strong, but yesterday’s songs didn’t hold up. A half-hour later, the more patient attendees got to hear an acoustic version of “Sur la route” and “Dans 150 ans” before another more intimate half-hour. All the same, we should say that there were very good versions of Bashung’s “Osez Joséphine” and, as a curtain call, Bowie’s “Modern Love,” before the “Caravane” finale.

Sunday, before Grand Jojo wrote a new page in his history which will continue at National Forest on December 14, we saw Stephan Eicher again. He will return to us October 3 at Wolubilis. Stephen is at home here, happy to follow his friends Cali and Raphael, a trio who, as far as the quality of their performances, should be on our own 2013 podium.

The Franc’Off R’tardataires

Spa’s Francos is also the Franc’Off competition for artists from our Federation. A twenty-six member international jury decided between the twelve artists chosen out of 160 candidates. The first prize goes to the rap group from Liège, Les R’tardataires, then Julie Roses from Nivelles, who produced a show that was as visual as it was auditory, with twelve people onstage. The third prize went to the energetic rock group from Brussels, Les Mâles Propres.

Finally, the Rapsat-Lelièvre prize went to the New Brunswick rocker Lisa Leblanc. We thought about this Rapsat prize often during the 2013 edition.

THIERRY COLJON

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