Three days of fantastic music, in the middle of the countryside. Quite literally ‘The Green Escape’ which is what this country, rock and folk festival deep in France’s Auvergne region is all about.

The 2019 line-up is impressive; Beth Hart, Kiefer Sutherland, Wade Bowen, Derek Ryan along with Elliott Murphy and Kris Barras. “We get big names. It’s 32 years since we started and we have great relationships with people in the industry, especially around Nashville,” says organiser Delphine Magaud. “The artists say this part of France reminds them of Wyoming or Montana, we’re all about the big sky.”

‘The Green Escape Festival’ is almost entirely run by local volunteers in Craponne: population 2,000. Over three days at the end of July that number swells to 13,000. “Everyone gets stuck in. We source all the food locally and the guys who build the stages come from just down the road. You can feel that community vibe.”

Green Escape Festival, singers on stage, photo by Philippe Bodennec

There’s a 500 pitch campsite and visiting has become a festival ritual for Magaud; “I make sure I take a wander among the tents every year. There’s a brilliant atmosphere, people bring their instruments and just jam.”

Festival-goers come from all over Europe and many have fallen in love with the surrounding area. “Our visitors tend to make a holiday of it, there’s plenty to do, just down the road is Le Puy-en-Velay which is a UNESCO World Heritage site,” Magaud elaborates.

“Country music is having a major revival and everyone is glued to American series, so we’re getting more visitors than ever.” So far. So wonderful. Any downsides? “We’re at 1,000 metres of altitude and it can get chilly at night, even in summer,” she says laughing, “So don’t forget a jumper!”

Green Escape Festival, stage, photo by Philippe Bodennec

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Instagram: @thegreenescapeofficiel

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