Cornouaille Festival in Quimper

Introducing the Cornouaille Festival. The Cornouaille Festival, founded in 1923, is a major cultural event in Brittany, celebrating the richness of Breton culture every year. It attracts traditional enthusiasts, families and music and dance lovers alike. Through shows, concerts and entertainment, the festival offers an immersive and festive experience.

Dates and venue for 2024. The 2024 edition will be held from July 21 to 27 in Quimper (Finistère). For a whole week, the historic town will vibrate to the rhythm of traditional music and dance, costume parades and a wide variety of events, creating a festive atmosphere.

Event objectives. The festival aims to promote Breton culture, showcase traditions, crafts, music and dance, and inspire participation. It combines ancestral traditions and contemporary expressions to share the soul of Brittany with conviviality and emotion.

History and development of the Festival de Cornouaille

Origins and first editions

The Festival de Cornouaille, originally known as the "Fêtes des Reines de Cornouaille", was created in 1923 by Louis Le Bourhis. The first edition took place on September 30, 1923, in the spirit of charity for the war-disabled of the First World War. From the outset, the enthusiasm and massive participation of local residents and visitors ensured the success of this festival, which has quickly become one of the most popular in France.

Evolution Through the Decades

Throughout the decades, the Festival de Cornouaille has undergone a remarkable evolution. In the 1930s, it was structured around the annual election of the Queen of Cornouaille and various cultural events. After an interruption during World War II, the festival resumed in 1947 with a new ambition: to become a major unifying celebration for all of Brittany. The 1950s and 1960s saw the internationalization of the event with the participation of folk groups from other Celtic and European regions.

In 1982, the "Fêtes de Cornouaille" officially became the "Festival de Cornouaille," a transformation that better reflected the diversity and richness of the events offered. The festival opened up to new art forms, including contemporary music and dance, while remaining deeply rooted in Breton traditions. Since the 2000s, the festival has continued to innovate by incorporating modern artistic creations.

Key Figures and Milestones

  • 1923: Creation of the Fêtes des Reines de Cornouaille by Louis Le Bourhis.
  • 1948: First edition with the participation of international Celtic groups.
  • 1950: Introduction of the competitions for the best bagpipers in Brittany and the gouren championships.
  • 1982: Transformation of the Fêtes de Cornouaille into the Festival de Cornouaille.
  • 1995: Celebration of 100 years of the bagpipes with international guests.
  • 2010: Adoption of the name "Cornouaille-Quimper" and launch of a new logo.
  • 2023: Celebration of the festival's centenary with iconic artists such as Dan Ar Braz and Alan Stivell.

The Festival de Cornouaille now attracts approximately 150,000 visitors each year, with over 1,000 volunteers and hundreds of local and international artists. Events like the Triomphe des sonneurs (Triumph of the Pipers), the fest-noz (Breton night festivals), and the Grand défilé breton (Great Breton Parade) have become essential moments, offering impressive shows and total immersion in Breton culture.

Festival de Cornouaille 2024 Program

The Festival de Cornouaille 2024 promises an intense week in Quimper, from July 21st to 27th. This event will showcase the diversity of regional culture through a series of shows, concerts, and activities.

Main Program Highlights

Each day, the Place de la Résistance will host aperitif concerts, fest-noz, and various shows.

Major Concerts and Shows

  • Gwennyn (Thursday, July 18th at 8:30 PM): Don't miss "Enez" at the Théâtre de Cornouaille, a unique show combining tradition and modernity, beautifully blending the arts (including costumes by designer-embroiderer Pascal Jaouen).
  • Les Vrillés (Thursday, July 18th at 7 PM): Will open the festival with their unique blend of bagpipes, bombard, and rock.
  • Gaviny (Friday, July 19th at 7 PM): Will offer a fusion of French chanson and Anglo-Saxon influences.
  • TekMao (Saturday, July 20th): Fusion of traditional music and techno for a unique atmosphere.
  • Denez Teknoz (Sunday, July 21st): Kan ha diskan (Breton call-and-response singing) in harmony with techno and exceptional musicians like Denez Prigent and Fred Guichen.

Fest-noz: Every evening, groups like Ampouailh will host traditional Breton dances.

Find the complete program of the Festival de Cornouaille here: access here