ARTYFACTS: Jardin Flambeau - stunning saturnalia

Monday, May 09, 2011

Jardin Flambeau - stunning saturnalia

The French love a good flame-fest, but they so often verge on the wrong side some second-rate street party with underwhelming performers doing things with diesel. So imagine my surprise - this was stunning. Over several hours from dusk til late we wandered through the trees to discover a saturnalia of fire. It was the sheer scale of the event that made it work, everywhere you looked there was more fire, more music.

The place was jammed with families, teenagers and oldsters like me, just relaxing and enjoying the sights and sounds of a garden transformed into a world of fire and flames; vertical tubes of charcoal glowing, chimneys puffing flames, balls of fire hanging from trees like burning suns, huge fairground shapes made of fire, talking trees and live musicians. No aggression, no problems, despite the potential for fiery mischief. I’m often disappointed with open-air events like these, but this was something that all those kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Great also to bump into people we hadn’t seen for a while. That’s what a festival does for a city.


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