Festivals in Brittany France (Bretagne)

Your Brittany Festivals Guide to entertain you during your holiday in Bretagne

The abundance of festivals in Brittany between May and October is simply quite extraordinary.
As diverse as music, dance, folk to religious processions, festivals are annual events in every Breton's calendar and not just for the tourists like some "travel writers" might note! They are colourful, traditional and an integral part of the breton culture.
If you are planning to visit Brittany, try to include one major event into your holiday programme, it is well recommended.

Breton Music Festivals

The art of music has always been at the centre of Breton culture. From traditional bagpipe music to electric sounds, you are certain to find the perfect rythm of entertainment during your holiday stay.
The Interceltic Festival in Lorient, Brittany France
The Interceltic Festival in Lorient © JOLIVEL Serge

Breton celtic culture is celebrated throughout the region with what we call a fest noz, an evening festival of traditional music and dance. Every harbour and village will host its fest noz especially during the summer. These are usually free of charge and dates can be checked with the local tourist board.
Some major traditional celtic festivals are annual events attracting over 10,000 visitors each from all celtic backgrounds coming from as far as Ireland, Wales and others. They will run for several days with street parades, evening shows and theatre concerts.

The Interceltic festival of Lorient and the Cornouaille festival of Quimper are by far the two largest folklore events of the calendar where dancers in traditional costumes, biniou and bombarde musicians, story-tellers and theatre provide days of performance for everyone. The public is encouraged to take part to learn some round and line dancing.

Check this year's festivals' dates
More on Breton Music.

Astropolis Festival in Brest, Brittany France
© ASTROPOLIS Festival in Brest

Fans of contemporary and rock music gather every year at the European live festival of "Vieilles Charues" in Carhaix, "Les Tombées de la Nuit" in Rennes or the "Route du Rock" at Fort Saint-Père near St-Malo.

If you prefer classical music, opera and orchestra, the best live concerts usually take place in Guidel with the Festival Polignac, Belle-Île with the Lyrique en mer festival and Lanvellec with its Festival of classical music.

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Religious Festivals - Pardons

Pardon procession in Brittany France
Pardon Procession
In contract to the music festivals, pardons are sober yet very colourful religious ceremonies devoted to different Breton Saints. These can run for two days, usually starting the evening with a torchlight procession and mass, followed the next day by a mass, a day procession and vespers. On those occasions, the majority of the pilgrims will dress in their traditional costumes, holding on banners of the church and Saints. These events can command thousand of attendees like the patron of Saint-Yves, Patron of the lawyers from Tréguier, or Saint-Anne where the most devoted one takes place in Saint-Anne d'Auray.

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