A summer festival in the city and along the waterfront
“Where are we?” is the question Claude Guinard, the Les Tombées de la Nuit artistic director, most often hears in summer. From 2 to 17 July 2016, he and his team take spectators on a journey to some unexpected places “in the city and along the waterfront” for three weekends full of surprises. The city is definitely Les Tombées de la Nuit’s favourite playground. “And we’ve got a long way to go before we exhaust this city’s possibilities,” affirms Claude Guinard.
“Vilaine surprise” to “laugh with the city”
The first weekend (2-3 July) will be invading some unusual spots in the city before heading over to the Etangs d’Apigné for the last weekend (16-17 July). Between these two weekends is the heart of the city centre, the Place de la Mairie, where the most current Breton sounds fill the square for the huge Fest-Deiz (on Sunday 10 July), produced in collaboration with Transat en Ville and the Skeudenn Bro Roazhon association.
Artistic installations and residences will link up these three weekends which also promise “Vilaine surprises”, in particular the fake beached whale on the Quai Saint-Cyr on 1 July to kick off the festival. To sum it up, Les Tombées de la Nuit is a “live show that constantly has something up its sleeve”. Note that the majority of this summer’s events are free.
New places and new horizons
Anima (ex) musica at the Hôtel-Dieu
The tdn is keen to use new venues with each edition. Venues like the Hôtel-Dieu, the university hospital, which will be transformed into a “pop-up hospital for sick instruments”. The utopian bestiary will be heading the operations, creating breathtaking instrumental sculptures in the form of animals and giant insects. Mathieu Desailly, Vincent Gadras and David Chalmin use the remains of musical instruments to create amazing creatures in the Hôtel-Dieu cloister. Visitors are invited to help these music lovers with their demiurgic works by bringing them their broken instruments so that they can be given a new life.
The chapel, a hospitable place
The hospital’s chapel will also be brought to life by a surprising mix of styles: with the classical piano, Maxime Cyrin will rework themes from Massive Attack, Depeche Mode, the Pixies and Moby. Eric Chenaux on the other hand will be forging links between jazz and medieval chants to the backdrop of the chapel’s hospitable decor.
Spectators can also expect a host of performances with a mysterious Black Box in the parvis of the Hôtel Dieu. “Urgence”, an exclusive and immersive theatrical experience (for one spectator at a time) is a sure quick fix for of the spectators’ ills of the week.
All aboard the utopian raft
Five centuries after Thomas Moore’s Utopia, a poetic expedition is setting off from Rennes in search of the ideal island imagined by the English humanist. The raft and its crew of architects, scientists and artists will be setting sail for the Channel from the Canal d’Ille-et-Rance. A utopian ball and a participatory picnic will be held along the Canal Saint-Martin before the crew set off on their 40-day voyage, with 10 ports of call in Ille-et-Vilaine along the way. The return journey from Saint Malo to Rennes is scheduled for 2017.
On 2 and 3 July, those who remain on dry land can take comfort in the mermaids’ song, musical siestas and mechanical concerts with Franz Clochard at the helm, the co-founder of the Archaos circus and the company Mécanique Vivante.
Forging links with other artistic families
True to form, Les Tombées de la Nuit is forging links in the Saint-Martin area with other establishments. “We love bringing together adventures whose paths would never cross without the festival,” states Claude Guinard.
Rennes’s Maison de la Poésie will be hosting a concert by Bruit Noir on 3 July, while the Bon Accueil, a venue specialising in sound installations, will be launching Anne Gonon’s “Tout Ouïe” creation. Just another marvellous Sunday looking out from the waterfront!
Finally, as part of “Nos quartiers ont la pêche”, Les Tombées de la Nuit is looking into the “Street fishing” trend, an urban practice taking Rennes by storm. An event organised by the Pêche Moderne association that will be held on the Quai Saint-Cyr and at the Saint-Hélier lock on 2 and 3 July.
Breton music revisited
If you’re interested in discovering the Breton music culture from a different perspective, then this should be right up your street: on 3 July 2016, Les Tombées de la Nuit will be joined by Brendan Perry, singer of Dead Can Dance who has been living in Brittany for years, and Bagad’ Cesson for an Olivier Mellano creation, with “a bagad and a voice”. In partnership with Lieu Unique de Nantes, this concert involved a very powerful bagad (a traditional Breton group composed of bombardes, Breton bagpipes and percussion). Free of charge; catch it on Sunday 3 July 2016 at 6.30pm on the Place du Parlement de Bretagne.
The following Sunday, 10 July, Les Tombées de la Nuit is joining forces with Transat en Ville and the Skeudenn Bro Roazhon association to bring you the great summer Fest-Deiz. The place to discover contemporary Breton music and dancing.
Folk arts at the étangs d’Apigné
The festival’s third stage will take you to the Etangs d’Apigné, on the city’s doorstep and one of the locals’ favourite spots, surrounded by greenery and water. From Friday 15 to Sunday 17 July, the festival will run over three days for a very special weekend dedicated to circus performances and all sorts of artistic installations. The “Marathon” by Sébastien Wojdan, from Compagnie Galapiat, will be sure to send shivers down the audience’s spine. Spectators will then be invited to play with Le Grand Simon, a one-of-a-kind acoustic installation, a giant reference to the Simon electronic game of our childhoods. The Public Juke Box will also play its role of a troublemaker in this rural and peaceful setting.
Music without borders
Under the Dome, set up not far from the Etangs d’Apigné, music takes on the role of further breaking down the borders: from Mali to Canada, Italy to France, the groups will be playing in succession throughout the weekend, which will be brought to an end by a free jazz ball.
A festival like no other
The “festival period” of July concludes the events from Les Tombées de la Nuit that take place all over Rennes throughout the year. The common thread running through this festival, and the Dimanches à Rennes (Sundays in Rennes) organised by the tdn teams, is the aim “to support the creations in the city, question the place of the spectator in the public space” in the words of Claude Guinard, artistic director. Les Tombées de la Nuit welcomes installations, street-art shows, concerts, circus performances… It’s a live show in all its glorious diversity.
An inclusive festival
“The concept of Les Tombées de la Nuit is threefold based on creativity in the public sphere, playing with the city and the place of the spectator,” sums up Lénaïc Jaguin, coordinator of Dimanches à Rennes. “The many artistic events on offer as part of Les Tombées de la Nuit play a part in that inclusive aspect. Spectators and residents have their role to play in the one-of-a-kind festival that contributes greatly to the “hugely important cultural proliferation” specific to Rennes.
A festival that also knows how to mix genres and arts. “Les Tombées de la Nuit has never been a 100% street art or music festival. Because its artistic practices are becoming increasingly interlinked: dance with music, art and film… There are no more borders,” adds Lénaïc Jaguin.
The city also dispenses with borders, inviting spectators to journey to other parts in Rennes, along the river banks or the canal for constantly renewed connections with the audience.