Spanning five days from the 23rd to 26th May, the Villette Sonique Festival is poised to bring the Parc de la Villette in Paris to life for the eighth time. This unmissable rock and electro event attracts music lovers of all kinds with a varied line up of musicians and bands.
With artists representing dance music, hip-hop, indie and metal, the live musical action takes place across a number of stages in the park, including selected free events and ticketed gigs.
Highlights of Villette Sonique 2013
Kicking off the music for the weekend is the highly regarded Flaming Lips. Celebrating their thirtieth year in music, this Oklahoma psychedelic rock band has experimented with a number of genres in their history including dream pop, alternative rock, space rock and non-psychedelic. With 15 studio albums to their name, they’re acclaimed for their live shows featuring costumes, puppets, balloons, video projections, and frontman Wayne Collins on a crowd-surfing mission. They’re certain to set the mood for the weekend ahead.
But Villette hasn’t earned its reputation as a groundbreaking festival for nothing. The event is tailored to musical outsiders and crate-diggers, so don’t expect your usual festival bands here. This festival is all about shattering your musical expectations and embracing a more challenging concept of music.
Pop music freaks Flaming Lips are joined by Gary Wilson and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Swans and Neurosis represent the heavy metal genre, and highlights on the electronic stage include TNGHT, DJ Harvey, and Caribou’s side project, Daphni.
If screaming guitars and eccentric, topless frontmen aren’t your thing, why not try some underground gay hip-hop? Michael Quattlebaum Jr. is an American rapper, performance artist and poet better known by his feminine stage name of Mykki Blanco. He will be performing his unique brand of entertainment at this year’s festival.
Travelling to Paris
The idea of travelling to Paris for this festival does put off some music lovers, who see the euro signs rising before their very eyes. But it doesn’t have to be an expensive trip.
With numerous cheap flights departing the UK for Paris, travellers can find a good deal if they book in advance. Another cost-saving tip is to book your parking at the airport before you travel,to avoid the higher fees. With plenty of options, such as these at Stansted Airport, you won’t have to worry about anything before your holiday, except getting to the airport on time.
It’s also wise to book a room before you travel, as the areas around Parc de la Villette get full around festival time.
Villette Sonique Free Shows
If you’re still worried about cost, embrace the festival’s generous programme of free open-air gigs which take place on the Saturday and Sunday nights. Kicking off with the wonderfully talented Chris Cohen whose range of instruments and relaxed baritone are reminiscent of artists like Sufjan Stevens and Gregory Alan Isokov. He’s been a contributing artist to several albums for bands such as The Curtains, Cryptacize, Deerhoof and Natural Dreamers, and this year celebrates his first solo release, ‘Overgrown Path’, which is available on CD and vinyl – for the collectors out there.
Once you’ve been lulled into dreamland by Chris Cohen, prepare for an assault on the senses by American noise rock band Dope Body, followed by Dutch independents The Ex and Brass Unbound, and the ghostlike electronica of Plapla Pinky. Wrapping up the free stage on the Sunday night is English-born, LA-based DJ Harvey who knows how to whip the crowd into a frenzy with his brand of space rock, rare disco, and strange techno.
If you have a love of music that’s outside of the norm, this is one festival you can’t afford to miss.