After the launch of the “Andrew Weatherall Festival” last year which attracted almost a thousand fans and rave reviews, it came as no surprise that raconteur extraordinaire Andrew Weatherall was prepping the affair for a second outing.
An intimate weekend of music, arts and food with ALFOS, Khidja, Scott Fraser, The Liminanas, The Asphodells... in a castle in the south of France.
But why in le Chateau Comtal, Carcassonne? Bernie Fabre is the why in that equation. We had a bit of a chin wag about the weekend later this month...
So how did you meet Andrew and why did you decide to set up the festival?
I met him through the reverend double gone Johnson, teacher of the Holy Trinity: echo, reverb and fuzz…
After that, Andrew played several times in the castle: it is one of the most jaw-droppingly stunning venue and it seemed the obvious thing to do!
What was it in particular that lured you to the idea of featuring Andrew in such a dominant role?
I’m a great admirer of Andrew’s radio shows/podcasts because they cover so many genres: rockabilly, post punk, Turkish or Nigerian psych, Joe Meek’s productions, 60’s garage, dub, krautrock… and current music made with machines.
I like that variety and I think Andrew is the ideal curator for such a project.
What's the general vibe that you aim for with the festival?
Intimate: We’re lucky to have this amazing venue, the count’s castle, which creates an intimate, magical vibe. Add top notch music, great food, great wine and the best audience you could get (the ALFOS crowd is really something else) and you’re in for a great weekender!
The festival takes place in a stunning setting, how much of an impact do you think it has on the mood of your audience? Why did you decide to hold it there?
As I said, it creates a magical atmosphere which you won’t find in most venues. All the djs/bands I’ve invited to play in the castle agree on that. It made sense to hold it there because the whole experience is greatly enhanced by the surroundings…
What do you think the highlights of this year's event will be?
ALFOS is always special. The Limiñanas are great live: they were One of the stand out bands of the 2013 Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia. They’re almost a local band as they hail from Perpignan. Looking forward to Scott Fraser’s live set as Tim Fairplay’s live set was a great success last year…
What’s your own musical lineage?
Drummer in several bands as a teenager, record collector, collector of analogue gear, DJ when I feel like it… I lived in London when the acid house explosion took place…
What’s in store at Andrew’s “Music’s not for everyone” sessions?
You can expect anything really: last year he played Fad Gadget’s “back to nature”, Nyahbinghi reggae, Lee Perry’s “disco devil”, The Cramps, The Cords’ “too late to kiss you now”, Bob Chance’s ‘jungle talk”, Julian Cope’s “they were on hard drugs”, my friends wild women and the savages’ version of “I need a freak”… and many more!
Scott Fraser’s doing an exclusive live set in the castle. Quite a coup?
Last year, Timothy J. Fairplay’s live set went down really well. So we thought we’d ask Scott this year. He is really keen. Really looking forward to that. Their new label “Crimes of the future” is really good.
How have the locals in Carcassonne responded to the festival? Do many of them attend?
They love it because they get to meet a crowd of dancers with passion and commitment.
Will you be doing anything to celebrate the castle and its medieval history?
No, as there’s plenty of that the rest of the year!
What should we wear?
It’s usually quite warm in September…
Would you consider doing something similar based around a different artist? If so, who would be your top contenders?
If we’re talking about variety of genres, Optimo come to mind…
You also boast a delectable array of food, why did you decide to get a Michelin star chef (Jérôme Ryon) involved?
Jérôme works in the famous hôtel de la Cité in the castle. They sometimes ask me to book bands (some of them were recommended by Andrew, like C.W. Stoneking or Pete Molinari), so I knew Jérôme. And I wanted the food offer for this event to be in line with one of the most stunning festival site you will ever see. He will cook ten dishes inside the venue (including cassoulet) at really decent prices (£4 to £8 each).
Top 5 Weatherall related tracks.
Too many to mention I’m afraid!
Andrew Weatherall “All The Kittle Things (that make life worth living)
Baris K “200” (The Asphodells Remix)
Two LoneSswordsmen - Faux
Pete Molinari - You Will Be Mine
Primal Scream - Goodbye Johnny (Andrew Weatherall’s Nyabinghi noir mix)
5 facts about Carcassonne that people may not know.
Make sure you try Cassoulet , the local culinary speciality.
At the beginning of the XIIIth century, Carcassonne was a Cathars stronghold, called “the heretics” by the Pope and the king of France.
The famous 1980’s streetwear brand “Chipie” was created in Carcassonne. There’s a picture of Andrew wearing a Chipie sweatshirt in the late 80’s with the Junior Boy’s Own crew!
Don’t die without seeing Carcassonne. So wrote 19th century French songwriter Gustave Nadaud of the picture- book fortress that seems to come straight out of childhood dreams. Past visitor Walt Disney is said to have been equally impressed, using it as inspiration for sleeping beauty’s castle!
The Carcassonne region is said to have over 300 days of sun a year!
Where should we eat?
Carcassonne is a great place for serious, discerning foodies: there are 3 Michelin star restaurants. An ideal place for bons viveurs!
If people are heading to the festival what would recommend in the surrounding area, pre and post festival?
Joe Bousquet’s bedroom/house: he’s a surrealist writer who was shot by a bullet during the 1st world war.
He never left his bedroom in Carcassonne after that, where all the surrealist artists/writers used to visit him: Aragon, André Breton, Max Ernst, Magritte, Dali, Hans Bellmer… all those famous artists brought him paintings…
The local market, Place Carnot, on Saturday morning.
A boat ride on the canal du midi.
Will there be a third outing for the festival?
It’s up to the guv’nor!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Andrew will make a limited edition print especially for the festival...
Andrew Weatherall Festival happens on 26th & 27th September
Full details on the facebook here
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