Why France's Rencontres Trans Musicales music competition is price touring for

In the event you’re searching for a brand new competition expertise, you are going to want a information. Right here, Lonely Planet author Sasha Brady explains why France’s long-running Rencontres Trans Musicales music competition is price touring for and why you need to make it occur.

France’s Recontres Trans Musicales has turn into a December custom for me. I have been yearly since 2016 (bar 2020), and it is a cherished winter expertise; a festive metropolis break and laid-back music competition rolled into one. I all the time come away from the competition feeling like I’ve found one thing particular, and yearly, I attempt to encourage extra family and friends to return. This 12 months, I will try to tempt you.

Trans Musicales founder Jean-Louis Brossard © Getty Photographs

What’s it?

Trans Musicales, because it’s generally identified, is an annual music competition within the French metropolis of Rennes that takes place in early December. For almost 50 years, the competition has launched the careers of assorted rising acts — connecting them with bookers, labels, and brokers to discover a larger platform for his or her music. Daft Punk bought scouted by Virgin Data right here in 1995, and through the years, Trans Musicales has been among the many first main European gigs for acts like Nirvana, Portishead, Large Assault, Björk, M.I.A., Janelle Monáe, Bon Iver, and Lizzo.

When Jean-Louis Brossard began the competition in 1979, actually no person traveled for it. It primarily attracted artwork college students and native acts however has since advanced into one of the numerous multi-genre music expos in Europe.

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(Clockwise L-R) Montreal-based Japanese Psych-Rock band TEKE TEKE, Congolese-Belgian rapper Lous and the Yakuza, and French singer Lou Doillan at Trans Musicales © Getty Photographs

Why ought to I am going?

You will typically get to see rising stars earlier than they make it to the levels of main European festivals like Glastonbury, Primavera, Sziget, and Physique & Soul the next summer time. You will discover some established acts too, however the focus is mostly on rising expertise from each nook of the globe — so if you wish to immerse your self in new music throughout a variety of genres, that is the place to do it. Anticipate hip-hop, rock, jazz, Afrobeat, rap, Afro-trap, digital, pop, and possibly a style you have by no means heard of like Icelandic feminist pop or digital voodoo.

The competition is right for anybody who desires a metropolis break too. It takes place within the night, so through the daytime, you are free to hang around in Rennes, Brittany’s capital. It is a actually beautiful place to discover, notably the outdated city with its maze of cobbled streets, half-timbered buildings, and nice bistros and bars. It is house to the Marché des Lices, France’s second-largest market, the place you may fill up on bread, cheese, wine, and different French treats. And since the competition takes place in December, you will discover Rennes lit up like a Christmas tree with twinkling mild shows throughout the town and varied festive markets the place you may whereas away just a few cozy hours over mulled wine.

In the event you actually need to push the boat out, you may finish the expertise with just a few days in Paris. The town is simply 90 minutes away by high-speed prepare, and you will find the Metropolis of Lights extra sparkly than regular because it gears up for the festive season. It is a good time to go to as the push of Christmas vacationers has not but arrived, and the town can really feel surprisingly intimate.

Colourful cafes in corner of Place Sainte-Anne.
Rennes is one in every of France’s most picturesque cities with a remarkably well-preserved Previous City © Getty Photographs

When is it taking place?

The principle a part of the competition within the Parc Expo will run between Thursday, December 8, and Saturday, December 10. However you will additionally discover gigs and talks at bars, theaters, and live performance venues in Rennes.

The place is it?

Most of Trans Musicales takes place on the Parc Expo, a set of huge plane hangars and industrial warehouses close to the town’s airport. Busses depart from the town each quarter-hour or so to take individuals there and again. The competition begins at 8pm and runs till the early hours of the morning.

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Rencontres Trans Musicales artists
(Clockwise L-R) New Orleans act Tank and the Bangas, Beninese afro-pop band Star Female Band, French Armenian singer Jacqueline Baghdasaryan, and Tunisian singer Jawhar at Trans Musicales © Getty Photographs

Ticket costs?

So far as European festivals go, tickets are reasonably priced with a three-day cross ranging between €35 and €72. There are additionally day passes obtainable.

Can I discover foods and drinks on the competition?

Sure, there’s a complete corridor devoted to foods and drinks, and the standard is notably greater than what you’d usually anticipate at a music competition. You will discover pure wine bars, oysters, and meals stalls serving delicacies from native cooks. Yearly there’s additionally a restaurant that hosts a three-course daily-changing menu created by a visitor chef. Final 12 months, it was Michelin- starred chef Julien Lemarié who handled attendees to a Japanese-inspired seasonal menu. 

Do not forget to pack

Snug sneakers or sneakers and a jacket. This is not Coachella — ‘competition trend’ is not a factor right here. The costume code is informal, and it may get chilly in among the halls, so you will want one thing to maintain you heat, ideally layers, since you may work up a sweat when it is time to dance.

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Rennes is a foodie paradise © Sasha Brady / Lonely Planet

The place ought to I keep?

There is not any tenting on the competition so you will have to kind out your personal lodging in Rennes. The town is small and straightforward to navigate. You will probably be inside strolling distance of the principle bus cease to the competition, regardless of the place you select to remain. If not, there are buses and metros in Rennes that can get you there in a jiffy.

My decide for lodging is Le Magic Hall, a cute retro lodge proper in the course of issues. Or, Le Paris Brest, a trendy lodge that is near the middle and the prepare station.

How do I get to Rennes?

You may depart from Paris by taking the high-speed prepare from Gare Montparnasse to Rennes in underneath 90 minutes. Trains are fairly common, leaving each half hour or so.

It’s also possible to fly direct from main European cities like London, Manchester, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome, and extra.

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Sasha’s high picks for Rennes

My picks for an ideal Rennes weekend

Eat: Petite Nature; drop into this pleasant cafe for those who fancy a plant-based breakfast or lunch. Attempt Le Petite Ourse for dinner, the place you will discover superbly introduced seasonal dishes (observe: it is closed on Saturday and Sunday), or the Michelin-starred IMA for its Japanese-French tasting menu. One in all my favourite locations to eat is the low-key and intimate Le Marrakech for tasty and cheap Moroccan delicacies. 

Drink: Rennes is a college metropolis, so there are many watering holes to swimsuit all tastes. There are old-school taverns in darkish half-timbered buildings, music bars, and Parisian-style wine cellars like La GrappeRewined, and Pénates. Rue Saint Michele, often called Rue de la Soif (or Drinker’s Alley), is a cobbled road with the best focus of bars within the metropolis. Begin right here and work your means out.

Do: Go to the Christmas marketplace for raclette and mulled wine or the Marché des Lices marketplace for all types of trinkets and produce. Halles Centrales is one other wonderful market serving every thing from seafood to pure wine and French pastries. For tradition, head to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes and check out Musée de Bretagne for historical past. In the event you’re searching for French trend, Rennes is house to nice classic and second-hand shops; my favorites are Soleil Noir and Antoine & Colette. If you would like to squeeze in a day journey earlier than the competition, take the prepare (lower than an hour) to St-Malo.