Vieilles Charrues aka MUSE

Trip Start May 17, 2010
Trip End Jul 17, 2010

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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Friday, July 16, 2010

I... am... STARSTRUCK!

Just had to get that out of the way before going any further. Hello everyone, I went to Vieilles Charrues yesterday for the MUSE concert and here is my story:

As you know, I had to drive to this concert which was located in Carhaix (supposedly 45 minutes from Quimper, hah). So yesterday I was all geeky and excited. I woke up by 11 am as usual and put on my concert outfit: a red tee, blue jeans and my walkin' boots. Cyril had given me some directions the night before so I was feeling semi-confident about making it there. I quadruple checked to make sure I had all of the essentials before I left the house and set off for SuperU to buy gas. Unfortunately, there was no one at the register for gas and I sure didn't feel like waiting around for someone to show up, so I figured that I'd be okay on gas for a 45 minute drive.


Well, the drive started off innocently enough. I had surprisingly been able to follow all of Cyril's directions up until I reached autoroute N165. He told me that once here, I should look for an exit with the city of Pleyben that would take me to autoroute N164. So I was cruising along all happy and as soon as I saw a sign that said Pleyben, I was thrilled I had found it so easily and took the exit. And this is where my nightmare began. The sign did say Pleyben, but there was another exit up further that I should have taken. This exit did not lead me to autoroute N164, but instead, the route touristique aka the scenic route. Still optimistic, I kept driving and followed the signs that appeared once in awhile guiding me toward Pleyben. Along the route, I noticed my ears popping and realized that I was driving on the mountainside! The views along the ride were pretty beautiful, but ultimately unappreciated as they further reminded me that I should have been on the highway. I kept driving and started singing little songs to myself to keep my spirits up. But because I didn't get gas from SuperU, my gas reserves dwindled dangerously low because of my little detour. I imagined myself, stranded, on the mountainside with no gas while somewhere, miles away, my favourite band in the world would be playing without one of their biggest fans in attendance. I quit the over imagination thing and just kept driving. At some point, I was able to get gas at a little station along the way, so after I bought gas my anxiety eased slightly. 

Now I don't want to waste the majority of this entry going into detail about my trip there, so I'll be kind and spare you by saying: this is the most lost I have ever been in my almost 20 year old life. After awhile I stopped seeing signs for Carhaix and I ended up getting back on some highway that led to Rennes... the wrong direction. I turned around and went the opposite direction and found the exit for D785, the same scenic route that had got me lost in the first place. But in the opposite direction, there were actually signs for Carhaix so I followed and they led me to another side road that eventually did lead me to Carhaix. Once I got into the city, I was totally convinced that nothing else could possibly top my 1 and a half hour nightmarish detour of being lost in the French countryside...

And I was right. 

Once in Carhaix, I parked my car where everyone else seemed to be parking theirs and followed the mass exodus of people to what I assumed was the concert area. I had all of my essentials carefully tucked away in my pockets to avoid being slowed down with bags. At some point, I made it to an entrance point where bags were being searched, so I was able to breeze on by. People were handing out ponchos and ear plugs and I graciously accepted them, but hoped it wouldn't rain though I knew it would. At the second entry point, I bought a Vieilles Charrues shirt in which I stealthily stashed my camera which I was prohibited to bring into the festival. After a LONG wait in line to go in, I flashed my concert ticket, was searched once more, and finally made it into the the concert grounds. After a trip to the restrooms (which were far nicer than our standard concert port-a-potties), I headed over to the bar for a rewarding cup of Orangina. The first act didn't start until 6:30pm, so I continued to walk around and found a vendor selling MUSE gear. That is when I decided I HAD to buy a MUSE shirt or my happiness would falter. The shirt I wanted was 25 euros (expensive, I know), and I only had 20. Anxiety kicked in once more. That shirt was essential to my overall experience at the concert and I would be severely depressed if I was not able to own it. I set out for the search of an ATM and found one... that was not working. I paced all over the concert grounds, I walked around and asked if anyone knew of any functioning ATM, then resigned to stalking the first one while some repair man attempted to fix it. Then as my luck would have it, the ATM was up and running again and I was able to withdraw enough money to finance my shirt. Like an overexcited 10 year old, I ran back to the MUSE vendor where I bought my unnecessarily expensive shirt and tucked it away with my other one in a little bag.

The first act was beginning so I headed over to the main stage to check them out. I was able to get up pretty close to the stage and snap some good pictures. The band was called Revolver and they were really, REALLY good! I danced along with the frenchies under the steady drizzle of rain and really enjoyed myself... but MUSE did not start until 11pm. After their performance was over, I decided to grab a bite to eat. It was only around 8:45pm so I really didn't want to do nothing for hours. Getting my food was another nightmare that took almost half an hour, but with food in hand (a french hot dog and fries), I returned to the main stage where I ate, then waited patiently for MUSE. In the meantime, there were two other bands playing on another stage: The Ravonettes (who sucked) and Jacques Dutronc (who is a French rock star) or something. Nonetheless, I waited waited waited sitting on the hard concrete floor in anticipation of the greatest band in the world. Around 9:30pm, it was getting pretty crowded so I decided to stand up. I also forgot to mention that the drizzle at the beginning of the concert had evolved into full blown rain. But no worries. Anything for MUSE. 

The time kind of dragged, but FINALLY it was 11pm and the stage was alive with energy and fog while MUSE entered dramatically to the response of a roaring crowd


And as soon as they began playing, the crowd did too, and the pushing and shoving began. I was jostled and shoved all about, and I began to understand why so many people pass out from exhaustion or panic attacks... I was about 5 seconds away from having one myself. But the crowd eventually stopped the madness and I somehow found myself closer to the stage than I had been originally. Sweet. So close that if Matt wanted to toss me his guitar, he totally could. I belted out the words to every single song and began to start feeling quite snobby. When Matt (the lead, to the non MUSE fans) stopped to allow the crowd to sing, NOBODY else knew the words. This crowd was obviously not worthy enough to be at a MUSE concert if they did not even know the words of the songs well enough to sing. Totally kidding... kind of... not really. I'm pretty sure I was the only American at the concert (maybe), and I suddenly felt totally proud of my flawless English speaking skills. Anyway, I danced, jumped, sang, and screamed along with the rest of the crowd. Let me also mention that there were THOUSANDS of people there because Vieilles Charrues is a really big deal. I tried my best to get pictures and video under the pouring rain and hoped I wouldn't sacrifice my camera (or my phone). As you see, I managed to get some decent ones. Before I knew it though, the concert was over and I was left feeling overwhelmed. There was another artist, Mr. Oizo playing on the other stage but I was exhausted so I trudged my way through the mud and rain and began my voyage back to the car.

The ride home was substantially less complicated than the ride to the festival, and I made it home without getting lost at approximately 3am my time. Once in the house, I kicked off my muddy boots and crashed. My life is complete.

So yeah, I had the best concert of my life, and tomorrow I'm coming home! Today I'll be re- packing my suitcases and tying up loose ends here. My next entry may be from the States or Canada. If not, this will be the last entry of my amazing French saga.

It's been a real adventure :)

Bisous toujours!
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