Paris is on fire right now with lots of big festivals and clubs all popping off. We speak to the promoter of one of its best new events to find out the story behind Big Bang Festival.
Big Bang Festival has been delivering a concentration of the finest underground music since it etched itself onto the Parisian music scene, back in 2014.
Situated in the Northern district of the city, exhibition centre Les Docks De Paris will give itself over to the energy of Big Bang for two days on 27 and 28 October. Len Faki, Blawan and Jeremy Underground are among the heavy hitters booked for this year's event.
The festival is promoted by the same team behind another Parisian festival staple ‘Marvellous Island.’ We caught up with Laurent Kemler, who started Big Bang, to discuss this year's edition.
Laurent Kemler, Marvellous Island Festival 2014
Ibiza Voice: What made you decide to start Big Bang?
Laurent Kemler: In 2013, after the first edition of Marvellous Island, we were back at the agency asking each other what we were going to do after all those intense months that had just passed.
The days after felt very empty so we had a very long chat together and we all agreed that it would be impossible to wait a full year before living those moments again. And so the idea of having a winter edition of Marvellous Island emerged.
Is Marvellous Island still going strong?
Yes of course, and it’s bigger than ever, We had the 5th edition this year. It ran for two days in early May and we welcomed more than 20,000 people to the site despite the pouring rain, which transformed our Marvellous Island into a Mudvellous Island.
It was definitely one of our best moments, [it had] such a great vibe and atmosphere.
How do they compare?
This is the most exciting thing, because they are two different projects. Marvellous Island is in May, when nature gets back to life, trees and flowers are green and coloured, weather is supposed to be good and sunny. We have open air stages, lots of details outside in scenography, and different mood and design for the stages, so we can show different ambiances and create different experiences.
Big Bang is every year exactly six months later and the weather is much cooler.
We are in two Big indoors warehouses to stay warm, with a main theme for scenography around Space travel.
Marvellous Island presents itself as a different kind of electronic music and Big Bang is more focused on techno and house music. Those two projects force us to challenge ourselves and present something new, festival after festival.
Can you describe what we may find when we arrive at Big Bang?
It’s roughly the size of two football pitches, located in a TV studio area with two warehouses and a huge outdoor space for bars, chill out, lockers, activities and also entertainment.
We always provide music entertainment for people to rest between the two concerts, or do something totally different from listening music, like the giant laser game or bumper cars. People will see two stages with different scenography so they can move from one stage to another and feel like they’ve changed location.
What has been a stand out moment from the past?
There have been plenty; the crazy ass set from Paco Osuna for our first edition is definitely one. Also Moodymann brought an incredible vibe during the second year.
Dubfire did a live Hybrid set for his first appearance in France. Last year the closing of Sam Paganini in the gravity stage was unreal!
What has been the most difficult thing you have had to overcome?
The Dubfire live Hybrid show was an intricate thing to set up as we decided not to cut the music between two shows, so organising that was super technical and difficult.
You DJ at the festival too right?
Yeah, but I’m just an amateur living my passion, so I do it less now as the festival continues to grow. Initially, I was doing the warm up sets but now I book warm up artists that are also friends. Occasionally I’ll put records on for them in emergencies, which is fun for us.
What influences your bookings?
As far as influence goes, there are many different aspects.
Firstly, I keep myself up to date on what’s hot, what’s too good to be true, what’s overrated and rising stars. I also try to ensure my lineups are well thought out and unique.
I feel I’ve learned where to focus the energy as I know what DJs like to have; a proper sound system, good set up, confirmed rider, a warm artist welcome and organised logistics. Once you’ve lived it, you understand better and you come prepared.
Can you tell us something we may not know about the festival?
In 2015, our site manager had an accident between the two days and nobody knew about it. We couldn’t find him or contact him and he was the man with the keys so the stress level rose a lot. Dubfire and his team arrived to soundcheck the live show and we couldn't get in! We had to break into our own venue that day. Luckily everything was okay after that.
SHDW & Obscure Shape
Thurman b2b Julian M
Mark Höffen live
Mandar ( Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie, S. A. M. )
Reinier Zonneveld (live)
Citizen Kain (live) + Drum