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France to hold its first festival in honour of redheads

Brittany in western France is set to hold the country's first festival dedicated to redheads, giving French bearers of the rare hair colour a chance to celebrate the flaming locks for which they often face unfair ridicule.

France to hold its first festival in honour of redheads
Photo: Pascal Sacleux
Regularly the victims of prejudice and mockery, French redheads will soon have a chance to hold their heads up high at the first festival in France set to be held in their honour. 
 
Dubbed Red Love, the event will take place on August 25th in the city of Châteaugiron in the northwestern French region of Brittany. 
 
The brains behind the festival is French photographer Pascal Sacleux, a redhead himself who previously held an exhibition to highlight the prejudice facing the country's ginger-haired people called “Brittany: Freckles rock”.
 
And it was while taking the photographs for the exhibition that the idea for the festival, which follows in the footsteps of other similar events already held in other European countries, including England and the Netherlands, came to him.
 
French actress Isabelle Huppert. Photo: AFP
 
“This kind of festival already existed in many European countries, England, Scotland, Ireland or the Netherlands in particular, but nothing in France,” he told Le Parisien.
 
But the event is not exclusive and you don't have to be a redhead to go, with Sacleux, who has previously called gingerism “a form of racism that has persisted for centuries”, stressing that everyone is welcome. 
 
In total, 3,000 people — both redheads and non-redheads — are expected to attend Red Love. 
 
It is believed that just 1-2 per cent of the human population possesses the ginger gene, with the Celtic nations leading the way and northern France is also ahead of the global average.
 
Famous French redheads include such luminaries as the first Norman king of England, William the Conqueror and French actress Isabelle Huppert.
 
And fans of French police drama Spiral will also be familiar with the flaming locks of actress Audrey Fleurot who plays lawyer Josephine Karlsson.

FESTIVAL

France’s Fête de la musique ‘will go ahead, with masks and a curfew’

France's famous summer music festival the Fête de la musique will go ahead, but with health restrictions in place, says the culture minister.

France's Fête de la musique 'will go ahead, with masks and a curfew'
Photo: ABDULMONAM EASSA / AFP

Culture minister Roselyn Bachelot, taking part in a Q&A session with readers of French newspaper le Parisien, confirmed that the annual summer festival will go ahead this year on its usual date of June 21st.

The festival date is normally marked with thousands of events across France, from concerts in tiny villages to huge open-air events in big cities and street-corner gigs in local neighbourhoods.

Last year the festival did go ahead, in a scaled-down way, and Bachelot confirmed that the 2021 event will also happen, but with restrictions.

She said: “It will be held on 21st June and will not be subject to the health passport.

“People will be able to dance, but it will be a masked party with an 11pm curfew.”

Under France’s phased reopening plan, larger events will be allowed again from June 9th, but some of them will require a health passport (with either a vaccination certificate or a recent negative test) to enter.

The Fête de la musique, however, is generally focused around lots of smaller neighbourhood concerts.

The curfew is being gradually moved back throughout the summer before – if the health situation permits – being scrapped entirely on June 30th.

Bachelot added: “I appeal to everyone’s responsibility.

“The rate of 50 percent of people vaccinated should have been reached by then, so we will reach an important level of immunity.”

The Fête de la musique is normally France’s biggest street party, with up to 18,000 events taking place across the country on the same day.

It’s hugely popular, despite being (whisper it) the idea of an American – the concept is the brainchild of American Joel Cohen, when he was working as a music producer for French National Radio (France Musique) in the 1970s.

By 1982 the French government put its weight behind the idea and made it an official event and it’s been a fixture in the calendar ever since. 

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