If you know me well, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Gilles Peterson and listen to his radio show every week without fail. Several years ago I learnt of his festival that he puts on in the south of France. It has been on my 100 things to do before I die list ever since. This year, things seemed to line up. We were living close to Barcelona, a three hour drive from Sete in France, we were due some kind of holiday, and this was to be our last holiday as a couple rather than a family (for some time at least). So I suggested it to Espe and she agreed without hesitation, so off we went to Sete.
With the help of Bertrand, a friend of mine whom I worked with in Madrid, a bunch of luck with someone cancelling, we were able to get a room in an amazing homestay, minutes walk from two of the three festival venues, with a pool and views out over the sea.
The first day there was an opening party by the pictureque port where we bumped into Gilles himself.
I could go on for ages about the music, but instead I´ll mention the real highlights for us, both of which happened to be live acts on the same night at the Teatre del Mar. The first of which was The Pyramids, a jazz group from the 70s who´ve recently reformed, and I don´t think I´ve ever seen a group of musicians enjoy themselves so much. A really good act with so very impressive freestyling. We were seriously impressed, as was Gilles himself. I know as he was sat on the same row as us next to Toshio Matsura, and his smiles and standing ovation gave a pretty good clue. He has raved about them on the radio since, interviewed them and invited them for the Worldwide Awards at the beginning of next year.
Following on from The Pyramids, was James Blake. I´d heard a lot of his music on Gilles´ show, but hadn´t been that enthused, but live it really was something else. I still can´t quite beleive how well his eletronic music translated so well to a live show. I´d planned to duck out just before the end to get to the lighthouse stage for Ghost Poet, but I couldn´t leave such a good show, especially with the encour.
And the rest of the music? There was not enough hip hop for my liking (something Gilles admitted himself afterwards) and I missed Ghost Poet due to James Blake going on for longer than programmed. At times it was a bit too 4 beaty for me (more breakbeat next time please) but all in all, great music, great location, great weather and a great crowd. If you get a chance, go…
Oh, and one more thing. I returned from the festival engaged! Result.