A We Love Green, a 100% vegetarian menu and French headliners

The audience at the We Love Green music festival in the Bois de Vincennes, in Paris, on June 3, 2023.

The plagues of Egypt seemed to have descended on We Love Green, which is very cruel for a festival precisely carrying out awareness-raising actions to prevent the apocalypse. After two white seasons due to a pandemic, the 2022 edition was marred by a biblical deluge on Saturday, which required the evacuation of 40,000 spectators from the site. Thomas Mars, singer of the group Phoenix, did not forget this episode, addressing the public in the evening of Saturday June 3: “One year later… Thanks for coming out in the rain! » These ambassadors of French pop in English had been scheduled on the same day in 2022 and it was therefore necessary to make up for lost time: “I’d like to talk to you, but we have an hour and fifteen… Otherwise, there won’t be all the songs on the setlist. » Disciple of Iggy Pop under his wise airs, the Versaillese nevertheless performed his bravery number at the end of the concert: crossing the pit on foot for several tens of meters, station standing above the public, return to the stage at the horizontal, carried by a forest of arms. Respect.

Export champion, Phoenix was, between rappers Orelsan and Lomepal, one of the three headliners of the 2023 edition of We Love Green. France was therefore in the spotlight, at the risk of making people feel the absence of a big international name, like Gorillaz in 2022, Tame Impala, Björk or PJ Harvey before. The uncontrollable inflation of artists’ fees, which only a few European behemoths can support in this sector, is the main reason for this. In The world of March 16, Marie Sabot, director of We Love Green, revealed that, between 2017 and 2023, the amount of such fees for one day of the festival had almost tripled, from 450,000 euros to 1.2 million euros. This has undoubtedly affected attendance, since, for the first time since its birth, in the Bagatelle gardens in 2011, then its move to the Bois de Vincennes in 2016, We Love Green experienced a decline, to 90,000 spectators.

Mix of audiences

In any case, good weather and high heat marked the three days of this first weekend in June – but should we be happy with these climatic conditions? After the past calamities, the return to normal (with all the same a last-minute cancellation, the American singer Caroline Polachek, sick) will have made it possible to reinforce the environmental identity of the event. The most symbolic and radical measure was the switch to 100% vegetarian menus, a revolution that would seem inconceivable among Hellfest metalheads. One of the debates organized by the festival’s think tank, “Greening our plates to save the planet”, added the floor. This change of menu has unfortunately not curbed the high cost of food on site, even if We Love Green claims to bet on gastronomic quality with the presence of fifty restaurateurs.

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