LE ROCK D'ICI A L'OLYMPIA: "PUNK" NIGHTS IN PARIS

French advert in BEST Rock magazine 

On 8th, 9th 10th July 1978 in Paris, there was the festival Le rock d'ici (meaning: homegrown rock) à l'Olympia.

The Olympia, oldest concert hall in Paris, was founded in 1888. Up to 2,000 people capacity. Traditionally, a bulwark of the French chanson culture.

Chanson culture in France was so strong that 24 years after the origin of rock ‘n’ roll in the USA, 16 years after the first Beatles single, in 1978, chansons sung in French still dominated the French charts.

Unlike the UK, where there was a clear distance between established rock music and newly emerging punk, in France that distance was less, as ‘all rock was more less underground’ according to French punk band Asphalt Jungle.

Guilty Razors, one of the most exciting bands of the french punk era

In France, punk arose comparatively early for the European continent. The world’s first punk festival was in Mont-de-Marsan in southern France (the Damned from England were the only real punk band, most others, from France and the UK, were rhythm and blues/pub rock bands).

That rock had been comparatively weak in France before the rise of punk meant that punk was rather strongly represented in French rock in 1978. So, many of the ‘homegrown’ bands playing 8-10 July at the Olympia were punk or close to it.

During these three days, Marie Et Les GarçonsLes DivinesStinky ToysDieselBijouElectric CallasStarshooterAsphalt JungleGuilty Razors and the Lou’s played.

French advert in BEST Rock magazine
Pioneer all-women punk band The Lou’s, the first all-female band in any rock genre in France, had been invited to play on 10 June by music label director Philippe Constantin.

According to the Cameleon Records site in France, the festival was organised badly. The sequence of bands was decided by lottery. The bad organisation infuriated some of the audience, resulting in breaking of chairs. 216 chairs, according to Rock & Folk magazine.

The live record, released a bit later on the Pathé label, made of the festival, had one or two tracks per band. Introductions and applause had been cut out.

Comment by Raf Diy from France:

"Actually, one of the most important punk bands from France did play at this 3 nights fest but are not featured on this comp: yes, the mighty Métal Urbain only played 2 songs before the self-made synth fell down in pieces cause of on-stage pogoing. I always wondered what would have happened if the complete sets of the bands had been released. And these two Métal U songs!"

Herman De Tollenaere (thanks for your comments)

LOU'S live in Mont de Marsan 1977



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