So Frenchy So Chic is making the leap from Australia to the U.K.
To coincide with the tenth anniversary of the French-themed buffet of music, arts and cuisine, So Frenchy will expand into London for the first time in 2020.
“It’s a little bit of a detour,” says festival founder Jean-François Ponthieux with a laugh.
The project started in 2005 with a compilation album, then transformed into live shows and a founding festival in Melbourne, with Sydney coming to the party several years later.
“I thought it was important to set up strong foundations in Australia first. And now that we’ve got a strong foundation here, it’s a good time to start looking elsewhere,” explains Ponthieux. “So, it’s more the time is now right.”
The English capital is an obvious choice for staging an event with French roots. Don’t yell it, but Brits are Francophiles. The country boasts the highest number of visitors to France each year. Britons love French wine, food and football, but outside the “French Touch” sound, musicians east of the Channel are often overlooked.
“England has always been very far for French music and French artists, there’s so much great music in England they don’t really need to tune into French music,” Ponthieux tells TIO. “So hopefully we’ll bring something different to the cultural landscape in London”.
So Frenchy’s London leg will take place Sept. 5, 2020 the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, a historic greenfield site rarely used for open-air concerts. Ponthieux and his team join forces with U.K.-based Australian promoter Nick Zuppar, an experienced live entertainment professional who has worked with Harvey Goldsmith and produced the first London tour of the legendary Crazy Horse de Paris.
Ponthieux has started working on the lineup, with an announcement to come April in London, with support through a combination of social media, press and PR and an outreach to the French community in the capital.
But first, Ponthieux has his hands full with 2020 events in Melbourne (Jan. 12) and Sydney (Jan. 18), boasting a bill featuring disco queen Corine, festival faves Lou Doillon and Nouvelle Vague, soul artist Tété and a DJ set by Gotan Project’s Philippe Cohen Solal.
“It’s coming along nicely,” Ponthieux says of the Australian shows. “This year is probably the most well-known line-up we’ve had in the last 10 years, where people are happy to come for the ride and discover the music.”
With London on the horizon and Australia’s two biggest cities locked into the calendar, don’t expect So Frenchy to add a third date Down Under anytime soon.
“Brisbane I’m a little reluctant, simply because of the weather. I remember the 2011 floods. That’s all I’m going to say,” he admits. “The rainy season over there can be quite scary.”