Alsace Wine Fair and Music Festival: rock, metal, and fun

Arch Enemy

By José Oliveira and Rosine Alleva, Rock At Night France Correspondents

Event: THE ALSACE WINE FAIR AND MUSIC FESTIVAL (Foire aux Vins) in Colmar,  France–69e Edition – From 5th to 15 th August 2016

Wine festivals are an essential part of the Alsace way of living ! From April to October, more than fifty events are held in this beautiful countryside of France.

And the Colmar Wine Fair is one of the most famous ones, attracting huge crowds. It’s an exceptional showcase for local products, Alsatian wines, and, of course big-name live concerts.

For this 69th edition, despite the sad events that France has lived, the Festival attendance has increased compared to 2015 .

For the first time since its existence, a band (LES INSUS ) was announced ” sold out” four months before the concert! This legendary 80’s French band got back together for the summer festivals.

With 11 days of shows in August, there has been this year more French artists programmed. This musical eclecticism has attracted both the French public but also Rock amateurs coming for international artists, beginning with Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty
Peter Doherty

PETER DOHERTY – 5th August

Despite being marred by Pete Doherty’s no-shows, The Libertines and Babyshambles leader was present to open this Wine and Music Festival 2016 in Colmar. For his new European Tour he is heading back on the road on his own. One of his last single, tribute to Amy Winehouse, is called “Flags Of The Old Regime” and it’s with a big French flag from the 1st war French resistance he entered the stage! Between two songs, he was watching his fans through binoculars while shouting “ hey you sleeping wake up” or “ yeah, mad’moiselle, magnifique”. “Hell To Pay At The Gates Of Heaven” was an amazing moment of connection between him and his public. Peter Doherty will be the first artist to be playing at the Bataclan in Paris for 2 dates in November.

The Temperance Movement
The Temperance Movement


The band name is quite funny when you see them only drinking water!

We saw them at the Stimmen Festival in Germany, but in Colmar, they had the opportunity to play on a larger stage;

Although it was not easy to play before the famous headliners “Les Insus”, they warmed up the audience with a revival 70’s rock.

Phil Campbell, the leader and singer of the band, made a great voice performance, reminding Joe Cocker’s gimmicks. A thundering show with some of his last album songs.

With the award of the “Best New Band of the year 2015″ in UK by Classical Rock Magazine, their future is all laid out.

Les Insus
Les Insus

LES INSUS – 6th August

Jean-Louis Aubert, Louis Bertignac, Richard Kolinka called today “Les Insus”, were the members of the former mythic band “Telephone”. Only the original bass player,Corinne Mariennau, wasn’t present.

These famous French musicians ended their summer tour in Colmar facing 10.000 fans!

On stage with their legendary energy, they proved their music was still present over the years. The first French rock band from the 80’s pleased their old fans and won the young hearts with their communicative joy. They shouted their message “ Let’s remain united, or we will become tomorrow’s weapons”. And as they were throwing an enormous globe in the audience, they began to sing one of their big hits “Un autre monde “ (Another world).

Will the adventure go on ?

Manu Chao
Manu Chao

MANU CHAO – 8th August

MANU CHAO, the French-Spanish musician, is at the same artistic level as Bob Marley.

He stays nowadays the most committed artist, awaking our consciousness against the obvious dangers of Nuclear power or of hegemonic Monsanto! The anti-nuclear activists were present and came to the stage shaking their anti- nuclear flag. They warmed up the public, asking to close the oldest French Power plant, located only 30 km from the stage!!

Always labeled as the standard bearer of the anti-globalization movement, he always refused this status, preferring considering himself as a “musician” and as an active citizen.

RADIO BEMBA is the name of the band usually accompanying him but for his last concerts and for this trip to our famous “white wine”country, he appeared on stage with his new troupe, LA VENTURA. And what an adventure!

You just had to see him jumping, spinning around, to understand that the evening would be festive! The visual projections on stage were inviting us to a beautiful multicolor journey through Latin America. In Colmar he transported us for three hours of Latin color sounds, from reggae to a really furious rock via ska.

With three solo albums, it’s not one of the most prolific artists but his songs are real joy’s hymns!. They were all acclaimed and really shook up the audience souls.

But “Mr Booby”, “Clandestino”, ” Se Fuerza la Maquina ” and ” Me Gusta Tu” were the craziest moments. The crowd was singing along and Manu CHAO was in trance!

Having a small “pied à terre” near the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the streets of Rio, Tijuana, La Havana or Buenos Aires being his courtyard, he was really expected here in Colmar and yes ! He gave the most beautiful show at this Wine & Music festival in front of a 9000 people crowd!

After three “more” MANU CHAO put the fire to the House with a long version of “Desaparecido”!!! Addicted to travel, we never will know his next stop!!!


Poster created by MARIE MEIER / Photo by Jose Oliveira
Mass Hysteria
Mass Hysteria


Every year at the Wine and Music festival , the Hard rock and metal fans are waiting for “their day”, the Hard Rock session . And this year, they were 7,000 to be present!

MASS HYSTERIA had the privilege to be the first band to open this 6th session! Formed twenty years ago and after a few years of silence, Mouss Kelai, band founder and leader, proved again that alternative metal can exist in France. With committed lyrics, like their title “l’enfer des dieux” ( the Gods Hell) from their last album “Matière noire”, it was important for those French musicians to have songs that the French audience could understand. It has been a real choice to sing in their mother tongue. And the public loved it! MASS HYSTERIA consider rock as a social music and never wanted it to be commercial or sentimental ….no need to be in English to convince. Even though it hasn’t been the best way to embrace an international carrier, they prepare their 9th album and a tour in Japan, China, Quebec and Australia. And they released a brand new DVD live in Paris!! We wish them all the best!

Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy


It’s from Scandinavian countries that metal music came from, and more specifically, death metal came from Sweden. And ARCH ENEMY is one of the successful Swedish melodic death metal bands. Formed in 1996, one of their particularity is that since 2000, Angela Gossow joined the band and was one of the best growling female singer, replaced since 2014 by Alissa White-Gluz. At the Wacken Open Air festival, a few days before Colmar, Arch Enemy made a great performance and Alissa joined former NIGHTWISH singer Tarja Turunen on stage to sing “Demons In You”.

Michael Amott, the founder and guitarist, wonders if it’s from water or air they get the keys to success ….more seriously, the Swedish government does a lot for the culture and dedicate special places to initiate young people to music . This is also how Michael Amott began to record his first demos. On the Wine and Music Festival stage, Alyssa was talking in French to the public, who responded with great enthusiasm to the performance of their last album, War Eternal. Most of the lyrics treat of protest against any kind of oppression, and although written by Michael Amott, but also by Alyssa White-Gluz on the last album, Jeff Loomis, the new guitarist also began to write for the band. We just need to be patient and wait for the next album now!



SLAYER, the only band who didn’t show up at the Press conference, was very expected and it should have been a great concert. Unfortunately all the fans from this famous Californian thrash metal band were very disappointed with the sound problem that occurred all through the show. It was difficult to recognize the titles the members of the Big Four played on stage! It seems they had the same problem playing at other festivals this summer ( Hellfest)…While playing guitar, I noticed Kerry King had fingers attached together with an elastic, probably to make it easier for the picking …It is with “Angle of Death” title from their last album Repentless that they ended the concert…..despite their incredible graphic artwork ( they prepare a comic book) and the famous great logo in the background of the stage, let’s hope their music will shake the public and not the venue for their next concert!

Limp Bizkit
Limp Bizkit


LIMP BISKIT really wanted to be present at this Hard Rock Session. At the press conference, yes, there was one, well kind of an A**S Fred Durst decided to talk to one journalist only , “to conserve his voice” and refused to use the microphone to answer the questions.

“Stampede of the Disco Elephants”, is the opus they are busy on since a few years now, should be released at a…. “ surprised“ date. This is more or less all we will know about the band future. Fred Durst says he is too busy to go to see others concerts, quite strange coming out of a musician mouth. But he likes the symbiosis between the Colmar Wine Fair agricultural atmosphere and the Hard Metal evening! LIMP BISKIT leader was quite excited to share this day with SLAYER, and it’s wearing a tee- shirt of the cult band that he appeared on stage!

And, without losing a second, he began to hassle the crowd in this rap and nu-metal style the band is famous for. Let’s not forget the dead white angel, other character of the band, without who LIMP BISKIT wouldn’t be LIMP BISKIT! A delighted and warmed up public , eating in his hand , with “Rollin” and surprised with a Panthera cover “Walk”. Everybody was happy for the rest of the evening!

LIMP BISKIT is from Jacksonville, Florida, ROCK AT NIGHT land!!

Amy McDonald
Amy McDonald

AMY MACDONALD – 12th August

AMY Elizabeth MACDONALD, is a Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist. She picked up a guitar when she was 12 and was self-taught via the Internet. And here she was, already in Colmar for the second time (she came in 2009)!!. She is a fresh and very talented artist, preparing her 4th album! Although the theater was full of “the Cranberries” fans, she seduced everyone with her Scottish accent when she was addressing herself to the crowd. She also mentioned Brexit and her love for Europe. But it’s with her powerful and deep voice that she definitely conquered the audience, offering songs in different styles from rock, pop to folk and country. She ended the concert with “Let’s start a band” after playing her other big hits “Mister Rock&Roll” and “ This is the Life”. After this great and energetic performance, the audience was ready for the highly anticipated band “ the Cranberries”

The Cranberries
The Cranberries


The CRANBERRIES were very happy to come back to Colmar, 6 years after their 1st performance at the Wine & Music Festival, where they had to leave the stage after 45 minutes, interrupted by a technical breakdown.

But it was quite surprising to only see 2 musicians showing up at the press conference, without the beautiful Dolores O’Riordan. All the present journalists, us included, were curious to find out the reason for this absence. And here is the answer Noel Hogan, the guitarist and Fergal Lawler, the drummer gave us: “She is not very comfortable for this kind of thing and anyway, we quite like to answer your questions”… And if there was another reason Dolores wasn’t present? Didn’t she want to be questioned about the new band D.A.R.K. she created with Andy Rourke, the Smiths bass player? Probably!

During their 25 year-career, they always could manage the interactive space between the creation of an album and the stage. “Tours are easier, we are much more relax now. What’s great with our job is, that you can play series of concerts and then disappear for a while to do something else “ said the guitarist Noel Hogan.

It’s true their career has never been endangered despite long interruptions. “We are surprised people still come to see us. This means a lot to us, it shows our music passed through the generations”. And here is the winning method : “Our influences stay very rock, we hesitate to introduce traditional Gaelic instruments in our compositions”.

Dolores was interacting with the crowd, blowing cute kisses.. Always with her killer voice and smile, but this time with very timid dance moves… When she announced from the start with a smile “I can’t really dance tonight, cause I have a bad backache… but I can sing “, we were a bit afraid to live the same kind of scenario as in 2010.

The concert brought us back to the 90s, and this in a good way. The CRANBERRIES played mostly their classic songs like  “Linger”, “ Animal Instinct”, “Ode to My Family”. They are still a great live band, which truly appreciates their fans ( including a large number of younger ones) and they really know how to capture the audience!!

Her musicians, nevertheless, seemed less together than during the better times of their career but the magic still goes on. It’s a lot thanks to Dolores O’ Riordan’s voice!!

Faithful to the accents and vocal landscapes of his beloved Irish singer, and despite her backache, the public left conquered after a final celebration, with the two last titles “Just my imagination” and “Zombie”.

It was a “Best of” successful evening, while awaiting for an “alleged” new album….

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Jose Oliveira

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