I went to the Manapany Festival last weekend, and couldn’t help but notice that the switch from surf festival to rock climbing festival has had an impact on the number of festival goers. It may be that there are other reasons, of course, but that’s the biggest change I can think of.

I remember going to the festival for the first time back in 2008 with some friends. I’d never been or heard much about the Manapany festival, so I didn’t know what to expect. I’d been to a surf/music festival before, the Sudoeste festival in Zambujeira in Portugal, which is a well-known five-day festival. This was in 2007, and I saw the likes of Manu Chao, Damian Marley and Gilberto Gil in concert, as well some great surf. So to be honest, I didn’t think Manapany would quite cut it in comparison.

I was wrong. I loved every minute of it (apart from the bit where my friend’s wallet got stolen). And what I loved about it was the fact that even though this was a small festival, the atmosphere was incredible, the music was good, and I felt the surf was even more impressive than at the Sudoeste festival because I honestly felt that every wave those surfers caught could lead them to their deathbed (it looked so dangerous!). It also taught me a valuable life lesson: when it comes to this kind of event, it’s actually more special when a festival is still in its younger years. Apart from the fact that you don’t spend the majority of your time fighting your way through a crowd, although the toilet queues are still as annoying, it’s nice to see bands and sportsmen and women who are still at the potential stage. And by the potential stage I mean that stage in our personal or professional lives, or in relationships, where everything is still possible. It’s the stage where we haven’t quite got to where we think we want to go, so all our energy goes into making things happen, because we still believe anything is possible. I’m not saying that the ‘I’m finally there’ stage isn’t great, it is, because that’s where we tend to stay in out comfort zones and reap the benefits of our work. But not leaving our comfort zones also means we try less, and get lazy. So I really loved that ‘potential-stage energy’ at the Manapany festival in 2008.

My best Manapany festival moment was in 2010, just after I got married, when the band I played in with my husband (the world-famous ‘Afro-Machin’) played on the Saturday night. We weren’t on the main stage as we were still at the potential stage, but it was HUGE. H.U.G.E. The place was filled with well over a thousand people who danced away throughout the whole concert. It was the best concert I’ve played till this day, and I’ll never forget feeling like a superstar for about a month afterwards. The icing on the cake was the picture of my sister, who’d played with us as well, and I, on a local newspaper the next day. That small victory for our band was what I’d call ‘the sweet-spot of the potential stage’. It’s that first taste of success which confirms the fact that everything really is possible.

So going back to the Manapany this year was an interesting experience for me. I had a good time, didn’t actually watch the rock-climbing but enjoyed watching the bands and being at that beautiful place. But I was sad to see that a lot less people went. I don’t know whether I was sad because of the actual low turnout or whether it was because I’d known the festival in its glory days and realised that it was now going downwards rather than upwards in terms of its success. I couldn’t help but remember our concert back in 2010, and was reminded that even our band doesn’t play anymore.

Rather than being sad about it, I’ve decided to turn this into another valuable life lesson. Life is impermanence. Things change. But we never go back to square one. The Manapany Festival is going through some changes, and is now back to a new potential stage. And I’m sure that potential-stage energy will blossom into a new and even more wonderful festival one day. And who knows, the Afro-Machin might even be back to play there!


The likes of – des gens comme (en contexte : des artistes comme)

It doesn’t cut it – ça ne suffit pas/ça n’est pas assez bien (en contexte: le festival ne serait pas assez bien)

Deathbed – lit de mort

To fight your way through something – se battre pour arriver où on veut (en context: faire la queue des toilettes pendant longtemps)

Reap the benefits – récolter les fruits

Icing on the cake – la cerise sur le gâteau

Turnout – participation (en context: le nombre de personnes qui sont venues au festival)

Full Episode Audio

Slow Version


Downloads (right-click & save)

Full Episode Audio

Slow Version Audio

Vocabulary Audio

Full Text & Vocabulary PDF