Marie-Jose Levasseur, who succeeded her father Philippe at the head of the National Federation, announces the return of the festival. But only in 2025 is the time to find financial support.
The International Folklore Festival, which enlivened the streets and squares and filled the theater hall at the beginning of July, disappeared from the Gaillac calendar. In 2017, thirty years since Philippe Levasseur’s creation, success was guaranteed. But Marie-Josée, his daughter, who took over from Philippe after his death, had health problems, then covid disrupted the dynamic.
However, Marie-Josée Levasseur is categorical. “The festival will be in 2025. Maybe we could have tried for 2024, but we made guarantees. We want a quality festival. We have groups, but we didn’t have a budget.” “We” is the Federation of the Union of Folklore Groups of France, created in 1989 by her father and of which she became president after his death in 2014.
“The membership groups asked me for it and elected me unanimously. Her husband Bernard, a treasurer, oversees the accounts and quickly realized that €800 in municipal subsidies would not get them far. It is not enough to accommodate some of the fifteen groups and 450 members.
Of course they don’t take any pills, but you have to house and feed them for two or three days. La Cabrette du Haut Rouergue (Espalion), L’Edelweiss Pyrénées (Saint-Gaudens), Lou Ramouné Mondi (Toulouse), Lous Bourrelous (Cajarc) and to the great joy of Thierry Morlet, “president” of Corréziens du Tarn, a dancer from Saint-Privas, or even the Gounods from Bort (who would return to the Federation) are a guarantee of experience and musical and choreographic quality.
Complete the budget
The union, chaired by Marie-Josée Levasseur, also includes folk groups in Provence, Vienne and Vendée, and even overseas groups such as the Tché Kreolé from Martinique, who performed in Olympia and Cigale. But the Union must find financial partners to cover the small budget of this festival.
Gaillac merchants demanding his return? Businesses and communities that have a benevolent view of maintaining traditions? “Folklore, as we understand it, is dances, songs, language, literature, traditional customs,” explains the president. His father also spoke of “ethnomusicological” groups.
The association with the Fédération Amicale Folklorique Nationale allowed resources to be pooled, each keeping their own groups. “Our joint project is to get the approval of the National Education and Youth and Sports Ministry to introduce these cultures to schools.” The General Assembly to be held on April 20 and 21 in Saint-Gaudens will prove that folklore is not dead. Because she keeps dancing.