When he jumps into the hole it raises the question of the safety of the audience (and artists)

These are unforgettable memories for some. Phoenix’s singer, Thomas Mars, is carried by the crowd to the front control post, in the middle of the hole, and the same way back to the stage; Julian Dore who imitates the leader of the Versailles group a few years later; And even Zazi, who is merging first into the audience…

All these extraordinary moments that happened in Vieilles Charrues, the programmer of the festival, Jean-Jacques Thou, will never forget, as he trusts to 20 minutes. “These are moments that were not planned in advance, they depend on the singer’s feelings, but some are more familiar than others.”

jump in the crowd

These jumps into the crowd are called slams. A practice that originated in the world of rock, punk, and metal that has become popular across all genres. Today, some groups are accustomed to “surfing,” as it is called in Quebec. Among the followers is the rapper Reles who, at the Musilac Festival in early July, threw himself off the stage to land, after a somersault, among the audience.

His acrobatic figure, impressive, allowed the singer to merge with his audience. But it can be dangerous, for the manager involved as well as for the people at the reception. Festival-goer 18-year-old Luna who was in the pit during a release somersault, has no regrets despite her bruises and a scratch on her knees due to the movement of the crowds that were set up to receive the artist.

“He warned us, he told us he was going to land, but I didn’t think he was going to do a somersault,” she said. 20 minutesA smile in his voice. Because even if she fell under the pressure of the crowd, she had intentionally chosen to be among the first ranks. “There are people who break things,” adds the young rap and pop fan.

highly regulated practice

One slam specialist, Arthur, a member and leader of the Bagary group, likes to share this complicity with the crowd. But he does not jump off the stage and prefers to climb onto the bumpers – which separate the stage from the audience –And the Then let yourself go. If he once threw himself off the stage, it was at Olympia, in a very small and well-informed crowd, he says. 20 minutes. It is necessary not to hurt anyone from a height of 1.93 m.

Because, according to him, “the misunderstanding with Rilès, or rappers like Roméo Elvis, is to export this practice to the very mainstream and popular festivals, while it takes place more in the ordinary scenes. The slam is that way, like a pogo (mutual and unorganized scramble). ), belongs to a very encrypted music genre where there is never any hit, unlike festivals where the audience is more diverse.”

Security in question

If Arthur never fears for his safety, sometimes instructions are given. “When there are a lot of mass movements, we are warned,” he says. Because it can spoil the party. Louna continues, “Some people complain that there are too many trailers…they’re not always really relevant and can even prevent some people from fully enjoying the show.” Sometimes it turns tragic. Crowd movement was fatal to eight people during Travis Scott’s concert at the Astroworld Festival in Texas on November 5. Two other people later died in hospital.

For an artist, a jump in the hole can end very badly. We all remember the annoyance caused by the fall of Shi at Percy in November 2015. Fortunately, the artist was not injured, as she recently explained that she is in fact “too low in people’s hands”.

But some falls have had more tragic consequences. In 2014, a festival-goer on stage lost his life two days after the Perseverance Tour in Germany after he jumped into the crowd without being caught. The Swiss newspaper Le Matin reported that the Slams are also banned in several countries. Among our Swiss neighbours, some festivals show the public an infographic reminding them of its prohibition, as in the Paleo in Nyon. At Les Vieilles Charrues, there is no danger of hurting the audience or being hurt, and the distance between the stage and the pit is too wide to jump from above, which limits the risks. “Anyway in regards to the three big scenes,” slips Jean-Jacques Tou.

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