Summer festivals and fetes in Gascony, South West France
You may have heard of the internationally-renowned Jazz in Marciac, but did you know as well as the more well-known festivals and shows, Gascony also plays host to numerous other fetes and festivals throughout the summer season! The very many village and market town festivals, fetes, night markets and village parties that go on throughout the summer are the real soul and spirit of Gascony life. However, many of these aren’t widely publicised, you’ll just have to visit and discover them for yourself!
In the meantime, here’s a round-up of some of the region’s more well-known events, as well as some slightly more obscure traditions!
Image: Tempo Latin Festival
If you’re a fan of all things Latino, then this is a festival not to be missed! A music festival that celebrates Latin and Afro-Cuban music held in the Gers town of Vic-Fezensac every July, this toe-tapping four days of fun transforms the town into one large dance floor! Between watching the salsa dances, the live music, enjoying traditional cuisine and drink, and of course, dancing the days and night away yourself, this is a festival with a unique charm.
Image:Country Music Mirande
From Latin America to the United States, Country Music in Mirande is a paradise for anyone who loves country and western and the cowboy way of life. A long weekend centred around country music with many favourite names headlining each year, the festival boasts 13 outdoor concerts as well as American motorcycles and cars, horses, cowboys and Indians, archery, lasso handling, a truly western atmosphere and, of course, a good old fashioned hoedown!
Created in 1962, the Nuits Musicales en Armagnac is a festival dedicated to classical music. The festival takes place in four venues: Flaran Abbey, Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Condom, Saint-Gervais Saint-Protais Cathedral in Lectoure and the church in Terraube. From Symphonic orchestras and recitals to chamber music and cabaret and jazz, this varied festival is set against a stunning backdrop.
In August five of the most beautiful Gascon towns/villages (including Lectoure, Condom and La Romieu) host a combined festival called ‘Musique en Chemin – which translates as music on the road. As the name suggests, concerts are located in various locations around the involved towns, a great way of linking communities and showcasing the beauty of these locations. As well as music, other events also often form part of the programme including outdoor cinema showings and modern art displays.
An all summer-long celebration of art and photography, showcasing local and further-afield talent throughout various locations around the pretty town of Lectoure. A fascinating afternoon if you’re in the area.
A festival with a difference – one designated solely for children! Translating literally as the ‘fun festival’ the event is held in the commune of Somorre and offers children talks, displays and shows designed to be artistically and culturally stimulating, but above all, fun! The theme this year (2022) is reading.
For something a little different…
La Fête du Melon Lectoure
An area traditionally known for melon growing thanks to its climate and limestone-clay soil, melons, particularly the variety known as cantaloupe, are a popular export from Lectoure. Often enjoyed on their own or with the addition of floc de Gascon, these delicious fruits are loved by locals and visitors alike – in fact, so much so, that a festival is held in their honour every August in Lectoure! A chance to sample and enjoy the melons in all their variety and learn from the enthusiasts who grow them.
Lagardere snail racing
If you’re really looking for something traditional and ‘different’ why not head over to the snail racing championships in the pretty village of Lagardere, where between 50 and 100 snails race, and the last unlucky ones end up in the pot…
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