It’s a beautifully warm afternoon and there is the unmistakeable scent of croissants floating on the breeze between the sounds of glasses chinking in relaxed celebration of having arrived—So Frenchy So Chic 2018 had begun and it was Friday Night. After a morning of wet and dreary weather, the sun had come out just in time to dry the lush grass in preparation for picnicking and relaxing among the shaded lawns of Pinky Flat. It was surprisingly busy as the gates opened, people flocking to the bars and collecting their delicious cheese hampers early and settling in for the show.
Having never been to the event before, my expectations were high on hearing the hype and having seen the lineup; Adelaide was being treated to the vocal talents of Juniore, L.E.J., Féfé and General Elektriks. There was a bit of everything within the lineup, something for everyone including hip-hop, psychedelic pop, electric funk and a dash of classically reinvented pop—a real tasting platter of French music.
Warming up the crowd was the delectable Juniore. Formed in 2013 by Anna Le Clézio, their uniquely throwback vibe had everyone bopping along in the sunshine. Goth inspired costumes had the crowd’s interest piqued, with the bassist introduced as ‘our Thing’ (picture someone dressed in a white sheet with a black scream mask playing bass and floating about the stage) making for a fascinating set. The super relaxed and chilled vibes were the perfect way to begin the evening, singing songs (in French of course) about not going to work on Monday and instead hitting the road. An inspired choice for opening, they set the mood brilliantly.
After a break that included a delicious sautéed potato, raclette and a glass of French champagne, it was time for the second (and possibly the most well-known of the artists to the younger crowd) performance of the evening—L.E.J. Famous for their mashup of well-known pop hits from summer 2015, named exactly that: Summer 2015, they opened dramatically with a French number (whilst famous for their mashups in popular English songs, their debut album was in French) they fired the crowd up with various mashups that included Macklemore, Rihanna and so much more. Most impressive was their snippet from Eminem’s ‘Rap God’ that is notoriously fast. Having nailed that they included a full cover of Destiny Child’s ‘I’m a Survivor’. L.E.J had the crowd dancing, including the youngest attendees who were having an absolute ball by the stage.
So Frenchy So Chic was designed for both the energetic dancing that accompanies good music, as well as the comfortable lounging that goes with good drink and delicious food—there was a spot for everything. I commend the layout and the accessibility of everything, as there was not only space to mosh up by the stage (yes, that started to occur as the champagne bottles began to empty) but also space enough to simply sit and enjoy the show comfortably either on strategically placed hay bales or picnic rugs on the grass. There was enough space for younger children to run and play whilst their parents looked on, but also didn’t exclude adult-only groups who may have become frustrated at such activity. They truly catered to all in that respect.
By the time Féfé took to the stage, the crowd were hyped and ready to go with great enthusiasm. Féfé, stage name for Samuël Adebiyi who is known for his high energy hip-hop and rap skills, exploded onto the scene as a ball of dancing and singing fire. Switching between French and English with great skill, I have never witnessed someone dance with so much ferocity while also maintaining excellent vocal form for such a long time. His set was markedly diverse with slow and romantic between dance anthems and head bangers, working the crowd into a frenzy before settling it down and telling a story musically. A fan-favourite, Féfé was exactly what you would expect from a hip-hop act and so much more. His global travels allowed him to speak to the audience with a musical style that introduced them to an even broader musical experience. He truly was a highlight of the evening.
To conclude, the most dedicated of So Frenchy So Chic eventgoers were able to experience a funky and dance-focused set by General Elektriks. The afros were strong and the synths were heavy as the crowd once again dutifully got up to dance the rest of the evening away. The French musical project by Hervé Salters, provided a memorably groovy end to the evening that had everyone who could still dance (many young families had left with their tired children and some of those who had emptied the bars of the champagne had been forced to take a seat), dancing with vigour. The set was an excellent taste of the variety that French music offers, having revived jazz and funk with an electronic sound that everyone can listen to and enjoy. Their stage presence was enthusiastic and the energy was catchy despite the waning crowd, which left a memorable end to the festival in everyone’s minds.
So Frenchy So Chic is the event that every lover of all things French should attend in Adelaide. The atmosphere is incredible, welcoming all ages and all backgrounds—the only requirement is an appreciation for French culture. You can attend comfortably solo or bring a group, no matter what you’ll find a great time with good food and a taste of French in Adelaide. I’ll be back next year for the fromage and champagne, that’s for sure.
By Zoe Butler