Welcome to “The Scene”, where we check out our favorite music festivals from the annual 100 Nights of Summer European tour. These aren’t typical reviews — I still can’t manage to distill a music festival experience into a number or letter grade — but I hope the observations in these articles help you plan out your own festival dream trip.
First up on the list: This is a Not a Love Song Festival in France. For a blow by blow of my three days at the first stop of 100 Nights of Summer, check out the recap here. Too many words? The TINALS photo gallery is right here.
The Scene @ TINALS
Tell Me About the Festival: This is Not a Love Song (TINALS) is a three day boutique indie rock fest in southern France. TINALS represents all the varied sub-genres that full under the “indie” umbrella including post-rock, math-rock, noise, indie folk, and a dozen other permutations. For people who can’t stand the whole sleep in the mud/drunk teens/massive crowds type of festivals, this is where you will find your happy place.
2016 Artist Sampler: Battles, Lush, Foals, Destroyer, Air, Algiers, Explosions in the Sky, Dinosaur Jr.
Estimated Size of Festival: 10,000
What Makes This Festival Stand Out: The size. This is about as intimate as you can get for a music festival with bands of this caliber. It’s comfortable, cozy, and all four stages are within minutes of each other.
Who Goes to This Fest: This is definitely a regional festival so the crowd is mostly French. I only met a few internationals (Swiss, Portuguese) over the three days. I was impressed with the age diversity of the attendees — everything from family to hipster teens to old-school indie rockers. Because of the size and crowd, this tends to be a super mellow festival.
What’s the Venue Like: TINALS takes place in an industrial area on the northern side of town at the oddly shaped and oddly colored Paloma Center. There’s two standard style outdoor festival stages and two indoor club-style.
What Would You Change: This is common to almost European music festivals, but can we get some more beer? I know you have sponsors, but surely one tent of craft beers won’t break the monopoly of Kronenburg. My other dream change would be to take advantage of that massive open field across the street that TINALS used for parking. Camping on-site anyone?
The Green Scene: After attending last year’s European mega-festivals, I didn’t have much faith in the European fest-eco philosophy, but a boutique one like TINALS gives me hope. Reusable cups are very much in vogue this season which cuts on-ground clutter by 1000%. Also, compostable toilets? Brilliant.
Would You Go Back: After you’ve had the mega-festival experience of Primavera Sound in Barcelona, the smaller ones like TINALS and next week’s NOS Primavera Sound in Portugal are an amazing musical adventure. You’re able to see almost all of the acts — there’s no FOMA (Fear of Missing Artists) and the smaller space crests a vastly more intimate atmosphere.
Details, Details, Details
Where Is it and How Hard is it to Get There: TINALS takes place in Nimes (about 90 minutes northwest of Marseilles). They do have a small airport that I flew into, but most festies will want to fly into Marseille and catch a bus from there. There’s also affordable buses from Barcelona. Try to get in early as Europeans tend to go on strike during the summer — this year it was the French train system.
Where Do I Sleep: The festival doesn’t offer on-site camping, so most of the attendees stay in the city about twenty minutes away from the venue in the city. There are no hostels in Nimes, but plenty of quality Airbnb homes. There is a camping option and the festival provides a shuttle, but I didn’t get a chance to check it out this year.
Eating and Drinking: It’s a boutique fest so lots of top-notch food trucks at standard festival prices ($6-$10). There’s also a grocery store across the street to stock up on picnic foods, snacks, and pre-gaming before heading into TINALS.
The MFW Beer Index: $5.50 for 1/2 liter of beer.
Getting To and From the Festival: No issues with this. The city bus runs out to the venue each day every 15 or so minutes. At night, there’s a dedicated bus that takes you back to the city center at thirty minute intervals.