Festival Column: Trans Musicales

Feature by Paul Mitchell | 06 Sep 2012
  • Colin Stetson at Transmusicales 2011

Les Rencontres Trans Musicales – 'meeting through music', nicely literal) is the winter festival which has garnered the useful reputation for being the one which sets the soundtrack of the following summer (Northern Hemisphere rules apply).

Held over three days in Rennes, northwest France, the indie/electronic/insert-any-obscure-genre-you-can-think-of festival has been in existence since 1979, when Jean-Louis Brossard (still the primary impresario) and Béatrice Macé founded the event designed to promote 'a new vision of music' away from the mainstream. Last year our discerning (read, tough to please) Music ed made the trip to Rennes – read about his experiences here.

This 'obscurity', almost ironically, often has a tendency to transmogrify into something approaching mainstream acclaim should an act be viewed favourably by the 30,000 or so attendees, including a sizeable number of music industry professionals (for better or worse). Notable acts who have emerged from the festival with significantly more recognition include The Sugarcubes (and later, Björk herself) Einstürzende Neubauten, Massive Attack, Beck, Fever Ray, eh, The Ting Tings (hey, they don't all becomes legends of their respective genres) and perhaps most famously, Nirvana (who garnered a rapturous reception in 1991, just before they went stratospheric).  

Line-up details are beginning to trickle through (with a comprehensive listing due in October) but to date, acts on the bill include Baltimore based one-'man' band Phoebe Jean, Canadian Rockers The Sheepdogs, and from these isles goth-rocking Londoners O.Children and the exciting Anglo-Colombian ensemble Ondatropica.

7-9 Dec, Rennes, France. Tickets €75 until 15 Sep, €109 after Eurostar and Condor Ferries run specially chartered trips http://www.lestrans.com