Once again this summer, 35,000 people will descend on a beach in Cannes for a dance music festival that brings together a wide array of house and techno styles form plenty of big name acts.
The whole festival has a strong community feel that finds people rallying together after the tragic events just down the coast in Nice last year. Playing will be All Day I Dream label and party boss Lee Burridge, Paul Kalkbrenner, techno icon Nicolas Masseyeff, American Behrouz, Citizen Kain, a back to back from Lunar Disco aka Kate Elsworth and Nico, and a live show from Bon Gamin and Nu as well as much more.
“After what happened last year we are looking forward to showing the world that music is the answer”
Introduce yourself, and tell us how Les Plages Electroniques came to be?
My name is Benoit Geli and I am the founder of Panda Events. In 2006, we started les Plages Electroniques with about 400 people on the beach at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, the concept was 5 nights, 5 different styles of electronic music, for 5 euros a night. Today it’s an international festival that gathers 35 000 music lovers and this year is the 13th edition.
And what is your daily job, what sort of things do you take care of?
We organize music events throughout the year on the Riviera and in other countries like Morrocco (Moga Festival), Portugal (Plages Electroniques in Lisbon) or the Caribbean (Martizik, Karibzik). My job is to manage and coordinate the team and develop all these projects.
Tell us about what is new or different for this year — what has changed since 2016?
This year, we will open sooner to allow our « plagistes » (that’s how we call our customers!) to get in comfortably and maybe enjoy a swim at the beach. We will have 3 stages and more food trucks, a bigger chill out area with water-misters to stay fresh even in the heat. What has changed since 2016? Same but better !
And musically, who is responsible for the bookings? What informs them? How do you select your lineups?
We get a lot of inspirations from our travels in different countries and all the different festivals we attend in order to know the market better. It is also very important to be at events like ADE or Sonàr to get in touch with professionals and discover the new artists that are gonna be on our next year’s line ups.
How different is the mood in France since the recent terrorist attacks?
Let’s say it’s special… As Les Plages Electroniques are located in Cannes, just a few minutes away from Nice, we suffered directly from the consequences of the 14th of July’s attacks. Last year, not everybody was in the mood for partying 15 days after the terrible events… But I have to say that people have found the strength to overcome the sadness and tragedy in order to move forward. Music will always be the answer to many problems in this world, that’s why we keep being positive and make people dance to forget the craziness surrounding us.
Do you have to bare them in mind when planning any parties now? Do you need extra security measures?
Unfortunately, the latest events have shown that danger is everywhere wether you walk in the streets, in a concert, in a plane… But of course we want to make our festival goers that everything is made to ensure their safety inside our outside the festival. We work very closely with the city of Cannes, the Police and our security services who are all doing an amazing job to provide reinforced security plan. It’s an extra cost in our budget but it’s for a greater good, most importantly for the safety of our team and customers.
How mindful are you of being diverse, having people of colour and women on your lineups? Is that important to you?
The Riviera and Cote d’Azur welcomes in 1% of the world’s tourists each and every year so by definition, the festival is held in a very diverse environment, mixing ages, origins, types, etc.Every year we try to have a line up so everyone can enjoy the music and dance, no matter if you are a real techno enthusiast or if you like all type of music.
Can you give us some tech specs – what sort of sound systems will you be using?
We are using Meyer Sound and L-Acoustics on the 3 stages for a total of more than 150 KW of sound ! We hire the best sound engineers who provide the best quality for our customers to enjoy the music comfortably.
Aside from your event, what is the scene like in Cannes?
The scene in Cannes is pretty active and provide lots of good music to tourists and locals. The team behind events such as Limelight and Bal des Fous often invites big artists to perform at Gotha, one of the biggest clubs in the area. We can also count on the local talents like Vida Local, Samo Ti, Pulla, Gunston, Sacha Muki, Johnny Be and of course Nicolas Masseyeff who is booked in the biggest festivals in Europe.
Can you recommend anything else to do outside of the festival? Maybe a particular restaurant, or beach to visit?
Les Iles de Lereins (Lereins Islands) are definitely a must see. Its almost a secret but Saint Honorat, one of the 2 islands is occupied by monks who produce the best rosé wine of the area. Sainte Marguerite, the other island used to have the Man in the Iron Mask as an inmate in its former prison. After all these adventures, I recommend La Cabane de l’Ecailler to enjoy the best seafood platter in town.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s LPE and why?
After what happened last year we are looking forward to showing the world that music is the answer, to creating a moment of communion where anyone from anywhere can come together as one and party in safe and secure conditions.