Six months behind the scenes of the Breton King Arthur festival

Suddenly, the gates open. Hundreds of young people rush to the entrance of the King Arthur festival, in Bréal-sous-Montfort (Ille-et-Vilaine). It’s 6 p.m., Friday, August 25. These revelers want to be the first of the 60,000 festival-goers to discover the plain of Mafeu, this thirteen-hectare field transformed into an ephemeral city with its three stages, its campsite, its hundreds of meters of counters, its infirmary…

The first of the fifty groups programmed until Sunday August 27 is already vibrating the speakers. Later, Black Eyed Peas, Louise Attaque or even Lomepal will make the public dance. The party is definitely launched in the rural town located between Rennes and the forest of Brocéliande. To better understand the fabric of such an event, The world followed, for months, the painstaking work of the organizing association, capable of mobilizing 1,200 volunteers, securing a budget of 2.5 million euros and coping with many unforeseen events. Detail review.

Nadège Couroussé, employee in the production part of the festival, in Bréal-sous-Montfort (Ille-et-Vilaine), August 22, 2023.

D − 170 before opening

This Tuesday in March, the Mafeu plain stretches as far as the eye can see, completely bare. It is necessary to inspect, to imagine the change to come, the plans pinned on a wall of the construction huts where lodges the association organizing the event. The main stages will stand here and there. Nadège Couroussé, an employee of the association, announces that she has found a 1,750 square meter marquee to set up a new stage, to the south-east of the site. This space will be devoted to Celtic music. A way to strengthen “the festival experience”enthused Anthony Launay, communication manager, and Gervais Duchemin, decoration manager.

The two volunteers insist: “Today, we need to be less dependent on programming and build more loyalty thanks to the atmosphere of the event. » To listen to them, it is a question of survival for the King Arthur Festival, this event which intends to differentiate itself from dozens of summer proposals of similar size. Half of the 2.5 million euros of the budget is based on the sale of tickets, the rest is supplied by sales to bars and by sponsorship. The financial balance of the Breton festival requires a filling rate of 92%. From then on, each edition is like a gamble.

Confident, Mr. Launay turns the screen of his computer to show the evolution “encouraging” of ticket sales. The three-day passes are already sold out. Volunteers talk like business leaders. “However, we were novices when we created King Arthur. We didn’t even know how to set up an association”jokes Sylvain Guilloteau, the president of the festival, whose angular face appears on the screen of the meeting room.

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