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Equiblues 2012

10th August 2012

It’s that time of the year again! If your heart beats to a country rhythm; if there’s anything

in you that savours the sight of a good working horse or if you have the teensiest passion for

Americana, the only place to be in Europe for the next week is Equiblues.

Towards the south of France, high in the Ardeche there’s a rambling plateau about

3,000 feet above sea level. At the heart of the plateau is St Agreve - a sleepy country town

where, for most of the year, nothing much happens.  Even its train station is at the

end of a line that goes nowhere other than providing a modest out and return for enthusiasts

of ancient rail travel.

That’s the way it is until the second week of August every year when the rodeo comes to town.

Then, the place fills with Cuban heeled, be-stetsonned aficionados of Americana from France

and the rest of Europe. For it’s not just the rodeo but the town gives itself over to

a country music festival as well. Simply, if you’re a fan of the western horse or your

toes tap to a country beat, there’s no other place to be.

Westernalia done with French panache...

Western horsemanship has a much bigger following in France than it does in England:

particularly, the more exuberant disciplines such as barrel racing, pole bending and cattle work. And there’s a rodeo circuit with monthly events throughout the south of France.

Equiblues is the continuing passion of Philippe Lafont who started in 1996 with a fairly modest show and has year on year built it up to the point now where it offers 5 days of rodeo and 4 nights of country music. We’ve seen many of our headline favourites from the USA and Philippe’s ability to find unique talent is what brings huge audiences into “Le Grand Chapiteau” nightly from Wednesday onwards.

The run-offs take place during the week before the rodeo and the whole thing builds to a weekend climax of bull riding, bronc busting and roping intermingled with trick riding demonstrations and enough other entertainment of an equine nature to keep a boisterous audience in the tens of thousands happily entertained. And surrounding the whole are dozens of stalls selling everything from Western saddles and tack to hats, boots and gear generally.

Have a look for yourself: . It’s a good place to go...

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