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Oct 15, 2019
see Salut for full details
Jul 5, 2019
The annual Fete de la Musique took place on the 22nd June this year, see Salut of full details.............
Jun 20, 2019

Hayling Island Twinning visit to Gorron in France 3-6th May 2019

An early morning departure by Brittany Ferries to Caen saw 50 plus members of Hayling Island Twinning Association on their way to France........ see Salut for full article.

Feb 21, 2019
Cosy Quiz 2019
Jun 30, 2013

Fete de la Musique

Fete de la Musique a Gorron 2013
Life on the road with The Velvet Lips

Category: General
Posted by: Stacey

After the rushed but very enjoyable participation at the 2012 Fete, Velvet Lips looked forward to a more relaxed and better planned visit for 2013.  After all we have a whole year to get things sussed and on the road.....
Well how about this then 2 weeks to go, ferry booked no place to stay and due to some oversights the Lips were to be reduced to a duo plus one roadie (sorry Lynne but that’ll be you then).  No matter we are up for it and going.  Well t’internet to the rescue and a gite called Maison d’Aube on a farm complex called La Returais near Brece was booked last minute and the plan was to go over on Wednesday have a relaxing time before the main event on the Saturday.
Early morning on the 19th June and it was a good one, bright and calm and ideal for cramming a complete PA system, guitars, luggage for 3 and some basic foodstuff into a car and off we went.  However we had an ominous start as a strange vapour was seen to be emanating from the cars air vents.  Not to worry eh! The crossing was smooth and passed quite quickly and the ferry was largely filled with returning French students and lots of Brits on their way to Le Mans.  Ouistreham welcomed us with lots of warmth and high humidity.  Time to stop for some ice cream and a fight with a local cash point (we lost) and off we set for the run to Gorron via Caen, Thury-Harcourt, Flers and Domfront.  Familiar territory if you’ve made the trip before.  Our next little glitch – spot the theme – was a sat nav that didn’t know where the new Caen bypass was, so it was off through the town centre in the middle of the afternoon.  Not a lot of fun and it was at this moment we realised the odd mist seen from the air vents earlier in the day was the air con giving up the ghost.  We were in for a sticky trip.
Now just as in good old Blighty the weather can change fairly quickly in this part of France due to hills and we passed through lots of wet bits and could see rain and ominous black clouds in the direction of our destination and sure enough the deluge came and with some force. Despite only being late afternoon a couple of days prior to midsummer it was like driving in the night. Not the best way to arrive. Still soon the familiar shape of the church in Gorron loomed in the distance and after picking our way through the road works found our way around to La Returais. By now it was just drizzling and as promised our gite was unlocked ready for us.  One small snag was that it was just as wet inside as out.  The rain had been so severe water had found its way through the door and into the building.  Apparently, after pointing it out to our hosts, this happens quite a bit as being a very old building it was slightly lower than the track outside. Never mind a touch of mopping up and car unloading and soon the sun came back out, daylight returned and we could relax.  Great thing was we had the whole complex to ourselves so could make as much noise as we wished.  Great for rehearsals and general relaxation, we had table tennis, bikes,  B-B-Q’s and a swimming pool all at our disposal.The next couple of days were spent doing normal holiday type things, walking, eating, drinking, shopping, eating, drinking meeting up with the other Hayling Islanders chez Policott, eating, drinking and preparing ourselves for the gig on the Saturday. 

This year we were to play on the back of a truck placed opposite the Bar des Sports which was ideal as the weather was variable again.  We were lucky enough to get parked close by and set up the stage only to find there was no power from the outlets in the square.  So despite carefully laying out the cables and taping it all down like good Health and Safety types, nowt worked.  No  problem.  A few French expletives later and a huge extension cable and dodgy looking distribution box appeared and the cable ran off down the street to, presumably, a shop or a lamp post somewhere. We didn’t look or ask.  However we were live in both senses of the word and although we had originally planned to do 2 sets of about 45 minutes each, as refreshments were flowing in our general direction we played a straight 2 hour set.  I think it went down well, though being first up it’s always difficult to say especially at a festival, as faces come and go all the time.  However some dancing and singing along kept the atmosphere up and we had a great time.                    

After packing down the gear we then had time to join the party and as night came the revelry continued and we had time to look at the other acts playing around the town.  The dodgy weather this year meant many stages had been set up inside shops and cafes but plenty more were still out on the streets and a great time seemed to be being had by all. The acts varied greatly from pop and rock, through jazz to comedy folk, rap and a particular favourite an ensemble playing French traditional music which had loads of people up and dancing in huge circles in the street. Sadly all too soon we had to put on our ‘sensible heads’, which is difficult in the early hours after a lot of partying and sleep beckoned as we had to head back to Hayling the following day.  Farewells were made to friends old and new, English and French and it was back to Maison d’Aube for the final time.

After a slightly lollopy trip back it was time to reflect and despite the odd hiccups with sat navs, air cons, floods and dodgy milk (nearly forgot about that) we had a great time.  It was Lynne’s first Fete but it won’t be her last and we promise that if Velvet Lips are invited back we’ll be back to full strength.
If you have yet to make a trip to a Fete anywhere in France you really must give it a go.  The whole thing just sort of happens.  One minute you’re in a quiet country town, next a part of a street party and when you return next day you wonder if it actually happened as everything is immediately returned to normal.  No trouble, little mess, great fun. Just make it Gorron in 2014.
Au revoir mes Amis,
Tony & James George – Velvet Lips
Lynne George – The Reluctant Roadie