When you think about festivals in Bordeaux, the first thing that comes to mind is wine and gastronomy. But let’s not forget that Bordeaux is the capital of the Southwest of France and one of France’s cultural hubs. So it’s not a surprise that there are quite a few big music festivals in Bordeaux. In this post, I gathered the biggest music festivals in Bordeaux and a few other attractive locations in Gironde. The list is very varied and I deliberately included many music genres like Jazz, Rock, electronic music and even Reggae. I added the dates of the festivals in 2020 (if published). For more information about the time and place follow my monthly and weekly lists, or subscribe to my newsletter.
Music Festivals in Bordeaux Metropole
Bordeaux Rock Festival
The Bordeaux rock festival takes place every January in the best music venues around the city, among them places like the Iboat, Quartier libre, L’avant scène, Void, La Tencha, La Voute, L’imperio, L’Antidote, and Salle des fêtes du grand parc. This festival was founded in 2004 by Bordeaux Rock, an association created to promote emerging music through cultural events. This festival is considered the main rock festival of Bordeaux, with tens of local and international acts performing here every year. In 2020 the festival will take place on January 22-26.
Bordeaux Open Air
The Bordeaux Open Air festival is a series of music events taking place in different locations during the summer. These are all electronic music concerts, hosting djs from all over the world. They have a very young urban vibe to them and they are completely free! Some of the events are taking place in Jardin Public, right in the center of Bordeaux and in other parks around Bordeaux metropole. With this festival your summer Sundays are covered. The dates of the Bordeaux Open Air event are published closer to the end of the spring and will be updated here.
Bordeaux relache festival
Another “all summer” festival is the Relache Festival. This one was created by the Allez les filles association in 2015 with the goal of providing free quality concerts to everyone. The festival lasts around three months (from June to August), with one or two concerts taking place on one of the squares of Bordeaux during each weekend. The program usually includes concerts of both local and international bands in many genres of music. The dates of the concerts will be updated here as summer approaches.
Fête de la musique
La Fête de la Musique is a French national day, dedicated to the celebration of music, with free concerts and street parties happening on the same day (June 21) all over France. This is an extraordinary day where you have the chance to walk around the city and enjoy an endless amount of small and big concerts from many genres of music. Like every other city in France, Bordeaux too celebrates La Fête de la musique with its own street concerts and activities.
Climax Festival is an annual electronic festival taking place in Darwin, one of the coolest places in Bordeaux. Besides the electronic live concerts, the festival includes many conferences, debates and cultural events related to climate change and other environmental issues. The festival takes place every year at the beginning of September. For more info about the festival click here.
Here’s a festival that’s slightly different from other events on this list – the Piano festival of Bordeaux. Festival L’esprit du Piano takes place every year in the Auditorium of Bordeaux, usually mid November – beginning of December. Every year this festival hosts worldwide known pianists like Abdullah Ibrahim, Chick Corea, Yefim Bronfman and more. Read more about the festival here.
Music festivals close to Bordeaux (the Southwest of France)
This is a great event for all electronic music lovers who want to enjoy the unique atmosphere of an electronic music festival and still stay in the region of Bordeaux. Festival Millesime takes place in the early summer days in a beautiful town, La Réole, located about 40 minutes drive from Bordeaux. The festival hosts more than 30 electronic artists on three stages that are located on the banks of the Garonne river. Live electronic music with a beautiful view, sounds like a perfect summer festival to me.
This year (2020) the festival will take place on May 29-30– click here for more details.
Jazz Festival in Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion with its romantic scenery is the perfect place to host this elegant event. The Saint Emilion Jazz festival was founded in 2012 and since then has been taking place every year in June / July. It has become one of the most popular music events in the South West of France, attracting around 10k visitors every year. During the three days of the festival Saint Emilion offers a great mix of jazz concerts, wine tasting and tasty food. In the festival area you will find a wine bar with the wines of Saint Emilion and a gourmand market with local products and food trucks. In 2020 the festival is taking place on June 26-27.
One of the biggest music festivals in our region is about to take place in June in Marmande (about an hour drive from Bordeaux). Garorock is an international festival with 5 big stages that usually hosts more than 50 French and international artists. In 2020 the festival is going to take place on June 25-28. For more info and tickets click here.
Arcachon en Scene
Arcachon en Scene is a popular music festival that brings big French and international acts to perform in this beautiful beach resort town. The festival usually takes place at the end of July/ beginning of August.
Les Estivales de Musique
Les Estivales de Musique en Medoc is the only music festival in France dedicated exclusively to young laureates of international competitions. The festival was created in 2003 to discover new talents in classical music. The concerts are hosted in some of the most prestigious châteaux in the Medoc area and are followed by wine tastings. The dates of 2020 will be updated closer to the event. See more info about the festival here.
One of the biggest music festivals in the Bordeaux area actually takes place in a small village in the Landes department, named Luxey. The Musicalarue music festival usually takes place in mid August in the forest, just next to the village. The lineup includes a very long list of artists and bands, which in previous years included some big names such as Shaka Ponk, Gaël Faure and Matmatah, Patti Smith, Orelsan and more. In 2020 the festival will take place on July 31- August 2 – click here for more info.
Reggae Sun Ska music festival
Sun Ska is a huge Reggae festival taking place every August in Vertheuil, between the vineyards of the Medoc area. The lineup includes tens of artists with some big names like Ziggy Marley and the French Dub Inc. The festival was created in 1998 and besides music, it has a strong environmental agenda. During the days of the festival, many activities are taking place to raise environmental awareness among the participants.
In 2020 the festival is taking place on August 7-9 – for more details click here.
In this list, I included only the main music events taking place in and around Bordeaux. These, however, represent only a fraction of the cultural life in the region. There are tens of music, gastronomic and other cultural events taking place during the year. If you want to be up to date on all other events taking place in Bordeaux you can read my monthly lists or follow the Lost in Bordeaux Facebook page where I regularly post about activities in the region. If you want to know more about events taking place in other parts of the Southwest of France join the Travel in Southwest of France Facebook group.
Excellent information- Thank you!!
I live out near Duras but visit Bordeaux a lot to see live music, I know about Rocher de Palmer, IBoat, Arkea Arena and Matmut, for the bigger bands but are there any small venues that have regular bands on and live entertainment??
I have been to the B11 in Merignac, really good night out with some good bands but don’t know where else to look or at what sites
Great if you could help???
Love your site keep up the excellent work and efforts to run it
Thank you Steve!!! Well, first of all, I see you’re quite familiar with many of the music venues around here. Some of my favorites are quartier libre in Saint Michel and la guinguette chez alriq on the other side of the river. This place is brilliant for summer! You also have Sortie 13 is Pessac and Karkatoa in Merignac for bigger concerts.