Posted by Lachlan Baynes
18. Jan, 2017
So Frenchy So Chic In The Park celebrates its fifth birthday this year since the food and music festival broke out in 2012. After the kind of year that France has endured, it is perhaps appropriate now more than ever to celebrate this wonderful culture and the zest for life that is so central to the French way of living.
Blessed with a cloudy morning that cleared into bright blue skies and aided by the Versailles-lite surroundings of the Werribee Mansion, So Frenchy So Chic, with help from it’s long time partner Renault, was a resounding success once more. Bolstering an eclectic line-up of French musicians and a vast menu of Gallic culinary delights, So Frenchy So Chic is a unique festival. Part champagne picnic and bare feet in the grass, part rave. With picnic hampers available from Ed Dixon Food Design and a menu crafted by Melbourne’s own L’Hotel Gitan, the food on offer was exquisite from baguettes and summer fruits to ice cream burgers served in a brioche bun (a particularly surprising standout). So Frenchy So Chic is the perfect destination to indulge your taste buds.
First up on the stage was the actor, writer, poet, composer and singer-songwriter Bertrand Belin whose velvety voice set a pace and an atmosphere that would persist through to the day’s end. Infusing his music with elements of funk, folk and pop, Belin relaxed the crowd as they settled in the sun, his languorous tones providing the perfect backdrop as everyone lounged under a sea of white umbrellas, content with their wine and cheese.
Husband and wife duo Lionel and Marie Limiñana, a.k.a. The Limiñanas, took to the stage next with a sound that has been described as somewhere between psych-rock, garage-pop and punk. Their music is dark, heavy and guttural. You feel it in the pit of your stomach, but in a good way. Alternating between English, French, Italian and Spanish, the lyrics were impossible to follow unless you were a gifted linguist and yet this never seemed to be problem if you allowed the mood and tone of the music to wash over you. If you just went with it then language became irrelevant and you could truly appreciate the sophisticated sounds The Limiñanas were creating on stage.
Changing the mood once again, French cover band Nouvelle Vague arrived with a combination of originals and covers of new-wave classics, putting their own twist on songs by The Cure and Joy Division amongst others. While Belin and The Liminanas set the atmosphere with their thoughtful and melodious sounds, Nouvelle Vague got the crowd to their feet to dance off the macaroons and champagne popsicles that were proving to be such a hit.
Finally, carrying So Frency So Chic 2017 out with style was the infectious energy and electronic hip-hop groove of Deluxe, a six-piece band that began busking on the streets of Aix-en-Provence ten years ago and now playing their first ever live show in Australia. Blurring genres, constantly moving and with inflatable moustaches to spare, Deluxe ended the festival with everyone, from the very young to the very old, on their feet and dancing well into the evening.
Even if you are not a die hard Francophile at heart, you would do yourself a great service if you headed to Werribee next year to experience the food, arts and music of a culture just beyond ours. So Frenchy So Chic 2017 was a day of new experiences: new food, new music and a new world that we are lucky enough to have a small slice of on our doorstep.
So Frenchy So Chic in the Park
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