the archive box. PHOTOS AND VIDEOS. The Clash at Rettel for “London Calling”: the unfinished festival

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The Clash at the Rettel Rock Festival

Among the national media, France Inter was on site in Rettel: Bernard Lenoir, for his program "Feedback", had broadcast the Clash concert. While projectiles are thrown on stage, the group stops in the middle of "Train in vain": we hear Joe Strummer asking the audience to calm down, before sending them away and continuing the pieces to a crazy rhythm.

Rock in Rettel: elements unleashed at the festival

The big rock party in Rettel started very well at the beginning of the afternoon. Several thousand people went to the Usinor outdoor base on the banks of the Moselle, near Sierck-les-Bains to attend the largest musical gathering in the region. Since the end of the morning, an incessant stream of festival-goers had crossed the small village of Rettel, unaccustomed to such crowds.

[Republican Lorrain of June 15, 1980] It was under a radiant sky that the festival began with groups like Fischer Z or the Cure, who provided an excellent stage performance. The venue and the sound system were up to the task of this ambitious and well-organized event. During the evening, however, the party was literally going to collapse during the passage of the Ufo group, drowned by violent downpours. The festival then took a turn for the worse. Few people were equipped to deal with the downpours. The heart was no longer in it for many of them.

Roxy Music cancels…

The tension, on the other hand, increased at the front of the stage, where a hundred or so enthusiasts were becoming more and more excited. It is true that the Clash have a reputation as a violent, insurrectional group. In the rain which had not stopped, the Clash started around 8:30 p.m. Immediately a hundred bottles and clods of earth flew towards the stage. The group, however, continued their show bordering on the dangerous. Tension was high in the audience, with many not quite understanding what was happening. On the other hand, the Roxy Music group, which was to close the festival, then decided to cancel its show, considering that it could not present it in such unfavorable conditions. The party was well and truly over. Fishtail, it must be admitted.

Article signed Francis Kochert [Republican Lorrain of June 15, 1980]

Echoes in the national press

A few days later, the newspaper "Libération" returns to the incidents that occurred as soon as the Clash entered the stage. In an article dated June 20, 1980, the daily echoed the reactions of reader-festival-goers.

We can thus read... "The groups pass without unleashing the crowd. The tension rises. The Clash wait their turn in their caravan. Joe Strummer dries his clothes on a projector near the river.[...] The group goes on stage. It's raining. Very quickly, there's a clash, a confrontation. After two songs, cans and clods of earth begin to fly onto the stage. As the rain intensifies, the projectiles become more numerous.[...] The fight breaks out in the front rows. The barriers are torn down. The security services react with tear gas. With rare courage, the Clash do not give up and manage to turn a situation around of unbridled violence. In the meantime, the group Roxy Music arrives. Brian Ferry refuses to go on stage, citing security reasons. Evil tongues will say that he was afraid of getting mud on his white suit".

Rettel rock festival: 20,000 watts for 20,000 spectators

The village of Rettel, peacefully nestled in the Sierck valley, will experience exceptional activity on Saturday June 14 from noon. Nearly 20,000 people are expected to attend the largest rock festival ever organized in eastern France.

[Lorraine Republican of June 11, 1980] Like the major Dutch and German concerts, Rettel will offer a structure particularly suited to this type of event. Jean-Marie Sanzey - a native of the country - at the origin of this project was the project manager for the festivals organized in recent years at the Château de Sierck-les-Bains. He wanted to give a new dimension to this annual meeting for rock fans. Since last September, the Santos-production team has been working to develop an international program and to think about the infrastructure of the festival.

The place will undoubtedly delight the public and musicians: it is a vast, perfectly circumscribed space on the edge of the Moselle on the open-air grounds of the Usinor works council between the forest and the water, without the slightest difference in level. The landscape is serene, radiant. The area was demarcated by a kilometer of special barriers, which have proven themselves for the major festivals in Holland and Belgium. The stage is impressively gigantic since it is raised to a height of 2.80 m, it measures 35 m long and 10 m deep, ensuring perfect visibility over the entire area. Three generators have been planned and the electrical power for the sound system and lighting will be around 20,000 watts! All the figures are also based on the size of the project.

In bulk, know that 12 semi-trailers will have been necessary to transport the equipment, 2.5 km of electrical cables, 20 toilets (free) equipped with sinks, 8 refreshment bars, which will sell some 15,000 liters of fresh beer on tap, 2 tons of fries, 15,000 merguez and sausages, 5,000 hamburgers…[...]

All these multiple details are undoubtedly important, but should not make us forget the essential: the program. It is definitively established as follows: Fischer Z from 1:30 p.m. then Kevin Coyne and the Occasionals, the Cure, UFO, the Clash and to finish in style… Roxy Music in full force. A set that should appeal to all rock fans today. The rock critics were not mistaken. They will come in force to Rettel for: Rock & Folk, Best, Melody Maker, New Musical Express, Libération, Le Matin… For the radios, we will note the presence of Jean-Bernard Hebey from RTL but it is France-Inter who will create the event with the arrival of Bernard Lenoir who will record the entire festival which will be rebroadcast on his show Feedback.

Article signed Francis Kochert [Republican Lorrain of June 11, 1980]

The Clash à Rettel pour "London Calling" : le festival inachevé

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