Scene and heard
There’s music wherever you go in Brittany. Elsewhere on the site you can find out about festivals and the what to expect in pubs, bars and cafés, but there’s no shortage of purpose-built music venues throughout the region where you can get first-hand experience of the thriving local music scene, as well as catching international stars and cult acts.
Since the emergence of the Transmusicales festival in the late 70s put Rennes on the map, it has been considered one of the pre-eminent musical cities on France, vying with the likes of Clermont-Ferrand as the country’s ‘capital of rock’. Musicians and bands are frequently drawn to the area for the opportunities and the spirit of mutual support in the region, which encourages expression and provides a well-developed infrastructure of venues. The founder of Les Transmusicales, Jean-Louis Brossard, runs L’Ubu in Rennes which is more than just a place for gigs but a hub for the development of local groups, as well as being a stopping-off point for touring indie-alternative bands.
Bright young things
It’s not just Rennes though – Nantes’ scene is bubbling over with exciting young groups and collectives of artists producing folk, arty rock or sleek electronic pop – and there are exciting venues throughout the region that put on local and international musicians, such as Club Coatelan in Plougonven, and some wonderfully eccentric locations like Ferme de Gwernandour in Brasparts, a working farm where the cows can sometimes be part of the audience, and, back in Rennes, Café Laverie, which is a venue-cum-launderette!
If you’re less concerned with the latest sounds, there is still plenty to look and listen out for. Folk, or updates of the traditional Breton folk sound, and Celtic music nights abound, and the French love of jazz means aficionados are well catered for. Rennes and Nantes also boast rich classical music programmes.