Free Sound Festival: 7,000 festival-goers expected in Collias in May… and opponents who want to cut the sound

Free Sound Festival: 7,000 festival-goers expected in Collias in May... and opponents who want to cut the sound

Lors du festival 2023. L'organisation affirme que les scènes seront inclinées différemment. DR – André Montoni

The Son Libre festival is to be held outdoors from May 9 to 12. A petition calls for its ban.

Three scenes – a techno, a trance and a "chill" (calmer, even soaring) – with around a hundred DJs from all over the world. From May 9 to 12, the Son Libre festival organized on private land in the town of Collias will celebrate its tenth anniversary. An anniversary which must be celebrated by the approximately 6,000 to 7,000 festival-goers, but which, in advance, is already raising the hackles of those opposed to the event.

A "uproar" uninterrupted overnight

Indeed, two residents of Poulx, Jean-Sébastien and Bertrand Lasbouygues have launched a petition entitled as follows: "Definitely prevent the organization of the Son libre festival in the Gard". Last year, the petition describes, “the noise caused unbearable noise pollution both for local wildlife and for tens of thousands of surrounding villagers, for four consecutive days. The sound was heard as far as Nîmes."  Beyond the volume, it is the duration of the nuisance that concerns opponents. "The noise lasts all night,  with only a break between noon and two during the day, specify the petitioners. The Nîmes feria stops at 4 a.m., the smallest votive festival at 2 a.m…. There, it continues."

Gilles Gadille: "The organizers are playing with fire"

Another point raised in the petition: the festival site. Its free site is installed in the Natura 2000 zone, and its presence leads to ;quot;a risk of fire in this protected area" while "contributing to environmental pollution".

Arguments which had already been widely developed in previous years by the mayor of the neighboring town of Cabrières, Gilles Gadille: "This demonstration is an aberration. We can talk about the sound, which does not stop at night, or about hygiene. But the major risk is the fire risk. Even if there are precautions, the organizers are playing with fire. Given the configuration of the place, if a fire happened, I don't know if everyone would be able to escape. The Cabrières municipal council is in favor of signing the petition."

The organization highlights its investments to fight fire

The organizers respond to the opponents, whom they propose to meet. "Yes, last year, in terms of sound, there was an error, recognizes Rudolf André, artistic director and head of communications. We are aware that people may have been disturbed, but it will not happen again. There was a problem with the tilt of the scenes, the sound was hitting Poulx directly. We will do differently this year. As for the fire risk, we now schedule the festival in May, a less dry period than June, and we have enormous resources with water tanks and large fire extinguishers that we rent for a fortune. We do inspection tours and the firefighters have dedicated access routes."

The petition has, so far, collected 220 digital signatures plus around twenty physical signatures. Added to this is “a petition which had been signed in Cabrières by around 500 people and which has been relaunched”, explains Jean-Sébastien Lasbouygues, who does not intend to stop there. The petitioners are considering possible legal actions to ensure that this tenth anniversary does not take place under the same conditions, in the same place.

While waiting to know if they will be heard, tickets for the festival are on sale on the website. The full pass is 125 €.

The mayor of Collias: “If the security measures are respected, I cannot oppose them”

Accused by the mayor of Cabrières like the petitioners of Poulx of authorizing, each year, the holding of Son libre, the mayor of Collias Jonathan Pire minimizes his role: "The commune is not intended to issue an authorization. This type of appointment is subject to prefectural authorization which has not yet, to my knowledge, been issued. There is a safety commission, of which we are part in the same way as the DDTM, the ONF, the Sdis, the Gorges du Gardon union…. My position is invariable: if the Sdis says that all the security measures are respected, I cannot object to it. Now, like other mayors, I still think that the place is not appropriate for holding this type of event."  

I subscribe to read more

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= ";r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)