Tocane St Apres Irish Festival 2010
Flew into Bordeaux kl.23 from Copenhagen - Drove through the night down to Castelnaubry - slept in a field, early morning coffee in Monpoix then off to Bel Repayre the Mecca for Airstream freaks in Europe. Bel Repayre is a retro camping just for Airstream caravans, old caravans and tents run by Perry & Elaine. Up a mountain near Manse, very hard to find.
From there we drove off the next day up to Tocane. The weather was very very warm, 31-37°. We camped at Tocane’s Camping municipale. Very cheap, only 43 euros for 2 people, tent & car for five nights. New clean toilets (you take your own toilet papper), showers with hot water included. During the day it’s just to chill in the shade, swim in the river, sleep or as we did take day trips in the car (air conditioning) to see the cave paintings or visit one of the numerous medieval towns.
Great sessions every evening starting around 21.30. We were tired because of the heat during the day so went back to the tent at kl 2 in the morning. Sessions went on to 4 or 6 in the morning. Met some great musicians there. A very high standard of musicianship prevailed. The French musicians playing Irish trad in the sessions here at Tocane are playing as well as musicians in Ireland. This festival is nearly 100% French/Brittany musicians with a handful of Irish musicans from Dublin (the Banks clan), and the Irish workshop tutors. We were the only musicians present from Skandinavia.
We were lucky to be in a fine session the second night with piper Marc Polier late of Ennis, playing his Williams set from 1982. What a piper! A brilliant musician. Together with Claude, a great fluteplayer and friend of Marcs. People were very friendly we found and we had some tunes on the camp site with a fine whistle player, Michel from Orleans. We ran into Geoff Gabby & Bijou Wooff. Geoff was playing the concertina & Gabby was on the whistle. There was a group made of folks from Paris & Brittany that apparantly meet up every year at Tocane. They played very well on the campsite and we listened to them playing outside at the Pelforth bar on our last night.
One night inside the Pelforth bar Muireann Banks’ band "Fanny Power" was playing so we wandered in and a session started up. Muireann’s mother was there on fiddle and she told us they had been coming to Tocane since 2000.
Well we shall definitely be going back next year. Good sessions, friendly people, great weather, lots to see. Recommended - 5 stars.
We didn’t see any of the concerts by the tutors or students as we were just interested in playing and daytripping.