Les Plages Electroniques: Europe’s Biggest Beach Party

Les Plages Electroniques: Europe’s Biggest Beach Party

you think of Cannes what springs to mind is probably super
yachts, the film festival and beautiful people. Electronic music
festivals on the other hand no doubt conjure up images of sweaty
dance pits, wide-eyed partygoers and grotty port-a-loos. So what
happens when you combine the two? On a sunny weekend in mid-August,
I hit the Cote d’Azure to find out.

Les Plages
is in its twelfth year and has repeatedly drawn
big-name tech-house acts including Carl Craig, Tale of Us, The
Martinez Brothers and Loco Dice to the French Riviera, along with
legions of sun-seeking dance addicts who come to experience one of
Europe’s “biggest and best beach parties”. Last year saw 16,000
descend on the coast; this summer that number nearly doubled with
30,000 revellers spread across three stages hosting 35 sets – an
impressive feat considering the tragedy that hit La Croissette in

My surprise at not having heard of the
before this year was explained by a distinct lack of
English partygoers in attendance, apparently preferring mud and bad
weather in Blighty to 30 degrees and white sand in France – for
someone who can help but cringe upon bumping into Brits abroad,
this comes as a big plus.

Instead, on Thursday evening we were met by thumping beats and a
young, French crowd enthusiastically getting down and dirty to the
likes of Fakear as the sun set. I was relieved to have forgone wavy
festival garms as girls and boys were nonchalantly dressed in denim
cut-offs and vest tops in a I-just-came-off-the-beach kind of way.
This is not the place for glitter and feathers.

First stop is to load up a wristband with credits, as a slick
cashless bar keeps queues to a minimum and ensures no faffing
around. A pitcher of beer will set you back 18 euros – not
horrifyingly steep for a festival, while various food stands mean
guests can arrive at 3.30PM when the gates open and stay until the
early hours, with a sunny roof terrace and afternoon Afro-beats
making the daytime atmosphere akin to a lively beach club.

But it’s after dark that the real vibes start. As the sun goes
down, the bass goes up and crowds pour into the festival enclosure
(many have bought a day pass), testing the water with drinks in the
Sønørd Klu chill area before hitting up the main stage below, where
people sprawl across the sand (and the merrier among them into the
sea). Headline act Paul Kalkbrenner whipped a packed-out open-air
arena into a frenzy on the Saturday night, as an impressive light
show reflected off the water making for an atmospheric backdrop
unlike any I’ve experienced in a field. The vibe palpably changes
not only from day to night, but also over the course of the weekend
as Flume, NU, Lee Burridge and Bondax draw an older, international
crowd while up-and-coming acts such as Sucré Salé and Lunar Disco
keep things fresh on the glitterball-strung Cocobeach roof

As blow-up inflatables are tossed overhead and people continue
to wear their sunglasses long past sunset, the festival screams
endless days of summer. With the central Cannes location meaning
attendees can come and go as they please, easily combining dance
antics with sunbathing, sightseeing or mandatory people watching on
the promenade, Les Plages is a pretty sweet set up if you’re
looking for a weekend getaway with beach, town and party rolled
into one.

SUITCASE Magazine was a guest of
OKKO Hotels

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