Sunday, August 5, 2012

France: Georges Carrier steps down as director of Country Rendez-vous

Georges Carrier at Craponne. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

Big news in the French country music scene -- Georges Carrier has announced that he is stepping down as the director of the Country Rendez-vous festival at Craponne, the premier country music festival on the French calendar.

Carrier posted this open letter on his Facebook page, just a few days after the 25th edition of the festival took place at the end of July:

Chers amis,

J’ai décidé ce jour avec effet immédiat de quitter mes fonctions au sein du Conseil d’administration de l’association régissant le Festival.

J’ai été très honoré par la confiance que vous m’avez manifestée durant ces treize années de présidence et ces quatorze années en tant que responsable de la programmation artistique et de la communication. C’est par mon engagement, mon travail, mon intégrité et mes résultats auxquels j’associe Jocelyne, que j’ai réussi, grâce à votre bénévolat et votre soutien à faire du Country Rendez-Vous le premier festival de musique country de France et l’un des tout meilleurs d’Europe, reconnu par toutes les instances, dont la ‘Country Music Association’ de Nashville et Le ‘Texas Music Department’ du Gouverneur Rick Perry.

Je souhaite bon courage à la nouvelle équipe car ce n'est qu'à l’aune de ces mêmes valeurs qu’elle parviendra à maintenir le festival au rang qu’il mérite, en espèrant que ma lettre ne soit pas la chronique d'une mort annoncée.

Georges Carrier

Here is Georges's English version, with more info:

Dear friends
I have decided today to stop working for the Committee of the Country Rendezvous Festival in Craponne sur Arzon, France. 
It was an honor for me to work with the Craponne festival for 22 years as a volunteer, 13 years as president of the festival and 14 years as their talent spotter and buyer and having a great team to work with in the USA.. For all these years I have been committed in making the festival the number 1 outdoor country music event in Europe acknowledged by ‘The Country Music Association’ in Nashville, the Mayor of Nashville, the Governor of Tennessee and the ‘Texas Music Department’ by governor Rick Perry. Together with my USA team, I definitely put this festival on the map as being the premiere event to play in France and one of the biggest events to play in Europe.

I owe this result to my wife Jocelyne, my dearest friend Trisha Walker-Cunningham in Nashville, who bought all the Nashville artists on my behalf (usually the big headliners) for 25 years and, more recently, Dr Gary Hartman in Austin for some of the Texas artists.

To all the artists who performed at the event, the managers and agents who have helped to produce the best line-ups in France, I thank you so very much.

Unfortunately I regret that I cannot predict how reliable the new Board will be, nor am I able to recommend any of those in charge. Therefore you will have to use your own discretion as to whether you wish to do business with these new people or not.

Trisha and Gary have now told me that without my being the over-all head of the event and as closely as we worked together all these years, that they do not feel comfortable being involved with the event in the future because they only worked with me and not with any members of the Committee. Additionally, Trisha is now managing the fantastic Southern Rock Band, FLYNNVILLE TRAIN. She, Gary and I will continue to work together on different projects.
I want you all to know that I have not retired from the Music business and will soon inform you about my future plans. Again, I want to thank you all for your support these many years and I know our paths will cross again in the future.
Best regards
Georges Carrier
Music Consultant

Carrier oversaw the programming of the festival for 14 years. One of his goals was to bring American artists to Europe -- and, unlike most country music festivals in Europe, the great majority of the acts at Craponne have been American, including big names such as Dierks Bentley, Asleep at the Wheel, Joe Ely, Bill Monroe, Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss and many many more.

This is what he told me at the festival the first time I went, in 2007, when I wrote an article about it for the International Herald Tribune:
"We are the only festival that does this - that keeps the music and only the music as the primary goal of the festival," said Georges Carrier, a professor of English in Lyon who has directed the Rendez-Vous for more than a decade and established close links with the music scenes in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Austin, Texas. "Who better than Americans can play their own music?" 
France has developed a number of promising country bands in recent years, he said, but most French artists had trouble singing in English. 
"I think having a festival like this - with the majority American musicians - is a good opportunity to make them learn how to do country music," he said.

Dierks Bentley at Country Rendez-vous. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

Georges traveled to the States every years to meet with artists and check out the scene. He had representatives/collaborators in Austin and Nashville.

I don't know the ins and outs behind Georges's decision to step down -- but he has already started up a new direction, as a representative of bands and "music consultant" helping festivals and events program country music artists.

See his new web site GC-Music Consultant for more information.

Interestingly -- the Country Rendez-vous web site, which used to have an English language section and also had archives on the past editions of the festival now only has promotional information relating to next year's festival........the English site has disappeared, as have the archived articles....

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