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The best of France-music, food, wine, people: pourquoi pas?
So Frenchy So Chic started out as a record album 10 years ago and morphed into a successful celebration of all things français two years later. Nine years down the track,Weekend Notes asks promoter Jean-Francois Ponthieux what has made the SFSC festivals in Sydney and Melbourne an established entry on every self-respecting francophile's summer calendar.
Could you give our readers a brief history of So Frenchy So Chic?
SFSC started as compilation album project in 2005. It organically grew with the boost of great reviews and strong JJJ airplay for artists Camille and Emilie Simon. The first concert was a double bill featuring Nouvelle Vague and Emilie Simon at the Art centre in Melbourne and Metro in Sydney in 2007. Four years went by with more double bills (Moriarty, Cocoon, Berry, Nouvelle Vague, $olal, Rachid Taha, Nadeah…) In 2009 the idea of a festival emerged. I wanted to do an outdoor event for a long time but didn't find the right venue until 2010 when I went for a drive with my wife to Werribee Park. I had a revelation. What a stunning place. It ticks all the boxes. It feels European, it's in the country not far from Melbourne and it's beautiful. In 2012 I discovered St. John's College and the rest is history.
For the first-time attendee how would you describe the vibe of SFSC?
A relaxed escape for friends, family and lovers. A day of fun lost in French music, food and wine. I want to transport people's imagination to the countryside. A picnic on the lawn of Werribee Park with the mansion as a backdrop or the stunning grounds of St. John's College appears to me the best way to spend a summer afternoon. It's a garden party with soundtrack to match. The music featuring, some of the best bands coming out of France. They all have gold and platinum records to their name but more importantly are amazing live performers. They spend their life on stage.
What is the audience demographic?
Wide and wild at heart. There's room to dance, there's room to play chess, learn the drums, watch a puppet show, there's room to lay down your picnic rug and enjoy. It's a festival for all who enjoy a good time and there is no age for that. It's also free for kids 12 and under.
Was Le Journal created solely to promote the festival and has it grown along with it?
The journal was created to showcase France: how we see, feel & like it
Do the different locations (Melbourne's Werribee Park and Sydney University's St John's College) make for a different audience experience?
The ingredients are the same but there are some nuances. We never create the same dish, it doesn't matter tant que c'est bon (as long as it's good).