My train trip from Nantes to Albi didn’t go exactly as planned. Suddenly the train stopped and we (all the passengers) were told the engine was on fire and asked outside the train so we spent hours under the burning hot sun waiting the engine to cool down. It was a bit uncomfortable (no cafe in the train so no water or food) but not scary and almost adventurous. I met some wonderful and really helpful people. A French speaking lady and an English speaking man sitting next to me shared their water with me and kept me updated with ongoing French announcements.

A few hours later I finally sat in another train in Bordeaux. I met a Swedish boy who was visiting French film festivals and we had a nice meal (offered to the passengers who were stuck in the burning train) and a chat. Unfortunately our train was late again so I missed every possible train to Albi and found myself in Marseille in the middle of night waiting for a night bus at a dark, empty and a bit scary bus station. I was relieved to see a man wearing a priest outfit and carrying huge suitcases and made me smile to see he looked equally relieved to see me. He was traveling from Sri Lanka and we spent a couple of hours keeping company to each other and discussing about our countries, languages and religions and in the end he offered his help in case I ever want to visit his country or need any local advices.

My bus was on time and I was in Albi around 2 am. The first thing I saw was my French friends waiting at the bus station. I still can’t believe they actually came to pick me up in the middle of the night!!!! So kind and made me feel incredibly lucky. I was happy to wake up in Albi next morning. Such a beautiful place, I had no idea in advance.

The queueing for the festival was relaxed and sunny. We arrived to the venue and met more French and Spanish fans and spent time chatting and trying to find some shadow. Local people arrived last minute and just pushed themselves through the gates but we managed to get good spots and waited the festival to begin. I was curious to see the line-up (which turned out to be probably the worst I’ve seen at any festival).

The first artist was a French artist called Lescop representing some kind of dark, French electro pop. I think he is a solo artist and not a band but the singer didn’t much stand out and I didn’t much enjoy the performance. The second artist/band Lilly Wood & The Prick was more pleasant to listen to. I read they are a duo and they had two extremely dedicated fans who were let in the middle of the front row to see their favorite group and I loved watching them having fun. The last artist before Mika was DJ Martin Solveig who was total Las Vegas to all my senses. His light show could probably be seen from space and the music was so loud I still have a Martin Solveig tinnitus in my ears. I know he is a very popular DJ and has produced music for several famous artists but I just can’t see any purpose of watching DJs at festivals in general. So I must say I didn’t enjoy listening to the artists before Mika but as I was in front row I tried to focus on everyone and it’s always a pleasure to take concert photos.

Then it was finally Mika’s turn and his show was exactly how it should be and even I sometimes question his decision to start with a slow French ballad (especially at festivals) this time  it was a bliss. It was absolutely beautiful and the perfect medicine for my damaged ears. His voice was lovely and the sound was good in general. The light show looked fab and there was no question who is the star on stage. Personally I probably enjoyed the show in Istres day after Albi even more (it was one of my fav shows for this year) but he did well in Albi and the show was everything it was supposed to be, everything I was expecting it to be and totally worth the time spent in the burning train, waiting in the sun and listening to the artists and bands performing before him. See videos for Origin and Live Your Life below under the photos.