Fest Jazz 2018 – Introducing Trevor Stent’s Young and Inspirational Organising Team

Left to Right: Angelina Beauvir, Margot Flamery, Mélanie Jouet and Trevor Stent.

Fest Jazz is unusual among jazz festivals because youngsters play a major part in the organisation of the event as well as helping as volunteers. Festival Organiser, Trevor Stent, asked two of this year’s young team, Margot and Mélanie (both 23), about their work:

How did you start to work with Fest Jazz?
Mélanie answered an advertisement on a post-graduate website but Margot knew Fest Jazz as she did an internship with the festival last year. “We are employed by Fest Jazz under a French system called “Service Civique” which pays young volunteers like us to work for cultural and community groups. It’s a good system! We have 9 month contracts.”

Melanie and Margot are key members of the Fest Jazz Team, giving invaluable assistance to Trevor Stent and the Fest Jazz Committee .

Where do you work?
“Mostly, at the association office in the centre of Chateauneuf-du-Faou.  The office is supplied free of charge by the local commune (council) which is a real help for the festival. We also have to represent the festival at meetings in Quimper (the nearest town) for example”

What are the main areas of your work?
For Mélanie, it’s “communication with the creation of different media supports but also developing contacts with partners and companies in the region; this involves many (too many!) meetings. One problem of being in such a rural area is that there are not many businesses here, only cows and
sheep (who don’t make very good sponsors!)”.

Margot looks after the website on Facebook and organises the timetable for the 150 volunteers who will arrive in July to help with the festival. ”It helps a lot that I was here last year as I know (almost) everybody and understand how the organisation works. Just feeding the volunteers and the
musicians costs us 5 000€ and takes a lot of planning.  This is France remember,
so the food is important!”

What do you like/dislike most?
Mélanie: “I really enjoy working for Fest Jazz because there is a lot to do and it’s a chance to begin your professional life with a post where you have real responsibilities. I truly appreciate Trevor’s
trust in our ideas and decisions.

“Although the French system is good in that we receive a lot of grants from local and regional councils, the other side of the coin is that French paperwork is awful and the most boring thing I have ever done in my life! I’m not really made for bureaucracy… I’m better at festival organization!”

Angelina Beauvir

Do you make decisions or do you “follow orders”?
Mélanie says “We are real members of the team and I really enjoy that. Although final decisions and responsibilities lie with Angelina Beauvir, President of the Association, our voices and opinions are definitely listened to. In fact in communication matters I think it’s me and Margot who make the decisions. Margot adds “some of the groups booked this year have been as a result of my suggestions and I’m pleased about that. We definitely feel involved in all the decisions that have to be made”.

What new ideas do young people
bring to the festival?
Margot: “I think young people bring fresh ideas. In the world of festivals, communication tools are always improving and changing and, as young people, we’re aware of these new media possibilities. Moreover, it’s the first time this year that the festival is offering reduced charges for students. Our idea!! I think it’ll motivate more young people to come and that’s really nice because it’ll contribute to the creation of a dynamic and funky atmosphere”

Mélanie “In the last few years the young people working for Fest Jazz have really revolutionised the “look” of the communications and modernised them. Some of the posters and graphics from the early years of Fest Jazz were atrocious, really old-fashioned. I think this is something that jazz festivals have to be very careful about; it’s not the 1950’s anymore!”

“It’s important to add that we have a lot more young organisers who come to help with the festival in the month of July. People like Laura, Nora, Lisa, Lucas, Ana have an important input too.”

Team Fest Jazz
Our amazing team of youthful volunteers and organisers help make Fest Jazz truly extra special for all involved – the bands, the musicians, the fans, the festival organisers and the friendly residents of Chateauneuf du Faou.

Says Mélanie, “Fest Jazz is not just about music. People came for the friendly and festive atmosphere. Everyone is really happy to be here and not just for the programme. We have lots of different groups, swing dancers, young and older spectators, families and friends who come. When I arrived here, I was really surprised because when someone talks about Fest Jazz, it’s always in a good way and everybody speaks about the great atmosphereAlso, the festival takes place in beautiful surroundings on the banks of the River Aulne. With or without the rain, it’s a perfect spot!”

Says Margot: “It’s different from other jazz festivals, which seem to be very strict to me. I’m thinking about Marciac (big jazz festival in the south of France) for example, where the audience just sits and enjoys the music but doesn’t participate. At Fest Jazz, people are more demonstrative. They’re dancing and “feeling” the music. Actually, I don’t understand why every jazz lover doesn’t dance when hearing some New Orleans jazz for example. That’s what I like at Fest Jazz, I have the impression that jazz is more alive here.”

Other Fest Jazz 2018 Organisers….

Nora Dedegbe

Lucas Slimani-Devevay

Laura Prevot

Lisa Brayet

Angelina, Mélanie, Margot, Nora, Lucas, Laura, Lisa and their friends – indeed the entire Fest Jazz Team – are looking forward to welcoming you at Fest Jazz 2018!
Write to them at [email protected]

Peter M Butler (Editor) is grateful to Trevor Stent and the
Fest Jazz Team for selecting Jazz&Jazz to assist in promoting this
phenomenal festival.

(Photos©Fest Jazz)

Be sure to visit: “Heralding Fest Jazz 2018: A Joyous Jazz Jamboree” for further 2018 programme details including bands booked, sample YouTubes, and the generous
Brittany Ferries Festival Offer.

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  1. Norm888 says:

    And all the young volunteers are willing to help with all sorts of queries, and their joy shows on the smiles that never seem to leave their faces. Yes ! it’s a truly happy festival with a great mixture of music genres for young and old to enjoy. Angelina, President, holds a very responsible position under French law, and should be applauded – she’s charming as well I might add ! We’re booked !

  2. Peter Butler says:

    Great comment, Norm, with which I entirely concur. The article has been update since you read it with further input I sought from Trevor. Count down is well underway for joining you and Meryl at the festival.

  3. Trevor Stent says:

    Thanks for the article, Peter, and your continuing support. I would be interested to hear reaction from UK festival and club organisers: how are things organised over there? How are things financed? Who does the organising and makes the decisions?The regional government that we have here does make a difference as the locality does have money to spend on cultural activities. There is so much more to organising a festival than choosing the bands and putting them on a stage…communications, sound and lighting, transport and accommodation of musicians, local politics (!), feeding 120 musicians and 150 volonteers over the weekend, the brochure of the festival, the search for sponsors…the list is endless and the help of the young people above is invaluable.

  4. Peter Butler says:

    I suggest we explore this further, Trevor. I’ll give thought to a Jazz&Jazz follow up which can be shared across Social Media for maximum impact / response. Perhaps Norman Gibson would like to pitch in and join the “debate”.

  5. Norm888 says:

    Sorry ! I am not in the confidence of any of the organisers of jazz festivals in the UK, so, how they function I haven’t a clue. I have firmly retired after fourteen years of very successful jazz night promotions, and am presently very happy assisting Frog and Henry putting together their their second UK Tour, of three weeks in February 2019. Marla tells me she would like to bring the all girl ‘Shake ’em Up’ band here next year, and I’ve offered any help I can give. I find no stress, which I am advised to avoid, in this, so you will excuse me if I bow out of ‘pitching in’ as you put it Peter. I would just say, that it might be more productive if our jazz festivals promoters researched how Trevor has achieved so much success, in his fourteen years of building up Fest Jazz to the dizzy heights it is at today.

  6. Peter Butler says:

    Not pitch in in the sense of becoming involved promotionally, Norman, but simply by commenting given your past experience.

  7. Norm888 says:

    Pitching in would involve me making approaches to festival people, who would not necessarily welcome my intrusion, and that I would find stressful. Friends I have in jazz I am very protective of, and who I appreciate very much, and at my tender age of 38 (as Tad would put it) I can do without some organisers maybe being abrupt at me poking my nose into their business. People like yourself and Trevor can easier discuss these things at your level. You know if I have comment to make here and there I will do it.

  8. Peter Butler says:


  9. Jim McIntosh says:

    Good to see you with the girls Trevor. Don’t forget, sex sells!!!

  10. Peter Butler says:

    Maybe, Jim. But its the bands, the stars and the incredible festival atmosphere and friendship that sells Fest Jazz.

  11. Norm888 says:

    Since you brought this back to the surface Peter, doesn’t the total lack of any comment whatsoever in the meantime, tell us something about the promoters, who put on the same old same every time, show no interest in the possibility of learning how an already good festival strives to improve further year on year ?
    Is it any wonder our jazz festivals do not attract the young and lively. So much for the ‘debate’ ! Norm888

  12. Peter Butler says:

    Norman, what troubles me most is the abysmal lack of comments and responses to the majorty of posts here on Jazz&Jazz, when a mass of comments are made on Facebook – for instance to posts on my Facebook Jazzers Group. Still seeking way of overcoming this. Dare I say watch this space?!

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