Value Based Curation: Positive Education Festival in focus

2 Minute Read
Positive Education
Art & Culture
Written by Alasdair King

Next month will mark the return of arguably one of the most innovative and interesting European music and arts festivals.

Positive Education is a tight knit festival based in Saint Etienne, France. For many years the team behind the event have been focussed on creating an event which is reflective not only of their own musical outlook but of their values and ethos as individuals.

The festival has done well to maintain a sense of perspective and despite having grown in scale it still operate based upon a DIY initiative which aids in showcasing up and coming musicians and artists.

The festival, like many others, was cancelled previously as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and as such the team behind the event took time to re-evaluate their goals and ambitions as well as reconciling their own experiences thus far.


Next months guests will include the likes of Octo Octa, Eris Drew, Brodinski, Low Jack, Lena Willikens, Ivan Smagghe, Shygirl, Simo Cell and many, many more. The festival will play host to a reputable assortment of both local and French talent, demonstrating the evolution in sound and music culture the country is currently embracing.

Ahead of the festival we caught up with the founders Charles and Antoine who reflect on how far they’ve come and where they’re headed now.

1. Describe the ethos behind Positive Education, what do you personally feel differentiates it from other European Festivals?

From the beginning, the name was thought out to communicate an intention more than a musical identification. We already had the desire to offer more than just a nice line up. To try to shed light on mentalities and education.

We have learned a lot about ourselves in the last 10 years and this has allowed us to refine our ethics. The will to do the right thing and to bring love and simplicity, to support causes and challenge indifference.

2. In light of the pandemic, does this years edition feel more special and pivotal than ever?

Not really. We experienced the shutdown as a break with the certainty that it would start again. We took the health crisis as an opportunity to put things down and define the project even better. We finally skipped an edition and we are where we planned to be in 2021.


3. You are keen to include multi disciplinary elements in respect of programming, why do you feel this is important and what do the talks and showcases bring to the festival beyond the music?

It is very important to transmit. We’ve been doing it for a long time in music but it was time to move on to more concrete topics. It’s about taking the time to ask questions and deal with them. The question of ecology related to our profession has really touched us for some years now. Simo Cell’s column in the newspaper Libération in June 2020 has really influenced this year’s bookings. This is why we have organised a conference on ecology led by Samuel Valensi from The Shift Project on Saturday 13 November at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Saint-Etienne with live performances by EMMA DJ and Gil.Barte.

4. In terms of the musical curation, there is a focus towards Leftfield electronic music, is this based upon your own tastes and interests?

The programming is indeed based on our own tastes, which we feel is in line with our values. We are DJs as well as programmers with a wide variety of musical tastes ranging from deep techno to bass in the broadest sense aswell as downtempo and ambient.

This year’s line up is surely the most personal we’ve offered. And strangely enough, this is the year we have received the most support from the public.

5. You make use of many different spaces, how do you approach the design and structure of each space?

We have defined aesthetics for each stage because they lend themselves to it. Over time our choices have been confirmed and now we are going a little further using scenographers from the Collectif Ascidiacea who will bring even more soul to each space, always in connection with the programming. It would not be possible for us to put “big room” techno on a stage designed for bass or downtempo.

6. Of what are you most proud of in respect of the festival?

The faith and the goodwill of our audience. Many people don’t know half of the line-up but they’ll discover artists and find new favourites. As we said previously, this years festival features a much more personal line up than in previous years, with fewer headliners. The public responded far more quickly – we can’t thank them enough for that!

7. Has the ideology behind the event differed and evolved over the years?

Yes, it has. We have become more aware of inslusivity and parity – both in our programming and in the audience of the festival. This has become a very important issue for us and we’re trying to work on it as much as possible. Today we want to drive communication between audiences. To bring people together and make society dream beyond continents, genres and generations.

8. What do you want to change about the music community more widely?

The idea that there are so many artists to discover. That being curious and having a real musical culture is exciting, enriching, and limitless.

More info HERE.