550,000 people from France and from dozens of other countries around the world visited the 82nd La Fête de l’Humanité in Paris on the weekend 15 to 17 September. I was one of them!
L’Huma was established in 1930 in the name of ‘proletarian solidarity’ and is a household name in France and it’s almost a rite of passage for French kids passing from adolescence to young adulthood. But it’s also very popular with families and older people.
Anyway, I too have now ‘DONE l’Huma’.
I was invited to go by a local farmer and politician and what an amazing adventure it was.
I was totally out of my comfort zone, in a strange environment and on my own for the first time in many years. But it was extremely well organised, amazingly interesting, exciting, inexpensive and with tons of stuff to see and do.
In a word, simply ‘wonderful’.
Here are some of the l’Huma highlights:
L’Huma – who headlined?
This year, ageing monstre du rock américain, Iggy Pop flew in from America, as Le Figaro put it, “to set the stage alight.”
80,000 fans can’t be wrong – waiting for Iggy Pop at l’Huma
Le Figaro Culture covered Pop’s appearance like this:
- “Malgré les rides et des tubes vieux de quarante ans, la star du punk semble rajeunir. Pour le plus grand bonheur des 80.000 fans présents sur place. «Jeunes gens de France! Fuckin’ merci!»
- En français dans le texte, Iggy Pop, a mis dans sa poche les 80.000 spectateurs venus l’ovationner samedi soir à la Fête de l’Humanité, avec un concert d’une énergie foudroyante.”
You get the idea though don’t you – even if you don’t read French?
The star of the show. Even Le Figaro called him the “ageing Iggy Pop”
L’Huma mega line-up!
Other stars included Renaud (with his distinctive ‘broken’ voice vocal style), Gojira (metal en fusion), and Gavin James (rising Irish singer-songwriter who plays his guitar and drinks beer with panache). Legendary hard-rock français Trust put in an appearance, and other big names in French music included Dub Inc (une envie de reggae), $-CREW (freestyle rappers), and, amongst many others, the young Berthollet Sisters, prodiges de la musique classique, who played violin and cello classics with vigour.
L’Huma in the past…
Big names from the past include Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, The Who, Deep Purple, Jacques Brel, Johnny Hallyday, Leonard Cohen, and Joan Baez.
So what is l’Huma all about?
l’Huma is much, much more than simply a three-day music concert.
Although it certainly is that, with continual audience participation in the form of frenetic dancing and singing—but it’s a cultural event as well. There are over 500 stalls, stands and exhibitions, including French departments, cities and regional areas. Plus it has the stands of countries from around the world, feminist organisations (like Clara magazine’s femme’s solidaires), an espace debats, a village du sport, a Radio France studio, social forums, photo exhibitions, street art, a book village… and a cinema venue.
There’s a special area for kids too with creative experiences, games and sport!
Whatever your politics, if you’re in Paris next September, you should put La Fête de l’Humanité high up on your list of things to do when you’re there!
What in the world could be better than an autumn weekend in Paris listening to music performed by top-ranking French and international artists, eating and drinking at a very wide range of outdoor pop-up bistros serving good food and wine—and all this in a wonderful outdoor setting?
A feast for the eyes
The best way to share the colour of my experience at l’Huma is with my photos – beware politics, nudity and music!
Dress code? Dress up or dress down for the occasion
Showing their wares
The Tuaregs were there showing their wares… And Huma-NU-Té was there too showing their things.
You’re expected to take a stand
Listen or participate – you choose
A weekend of eating, drinking and even sleeping politics
Politics, confusing urinals and so much more…
See you there next year?
Have you ever been to L’Huma? Or are there other similar events in France that you can recommend? Share your thoughts & experiences with us below.
1. 550 000 mercis via fete.humanite.fr
3. Iggy Pop via le Figaro
2. and all other images courtesy Ray Johnstone