Along Michelet Boulevard in Nantes, a large building stands out in the eyes of passers-by. Covered in a giant red fresco, the Le Michelet café-concert building is striking. Rare are the Nantes who do not know this place, at least by sight. With 200 concerts, 500 groups and more than 20,000 spectators a year, the Michelet Stage is an emblematic place of rock culture.
A place that lives its last moments. Olivier Piard, creator of the café-concert more than fifteen years ago, has decided to lower the curtain. “We have been full every night since the lockdown announcement, it is full. But I suspected it”, explains the man who made this café-concert a benchmark for the rock-metal scene in the City of Dukes. But now, health concerns and a form of “exhaustion” pushed him to make an irrevocable decision. The last musical notes will resonate in this room on the night of Saturday, April 30.
From poetry to black metal
A very thoughtful decision by the 42-year-old boss, who had already thought about passing the torch in 2018. “I proposed to the employees to return to Scop. But it didn’t happen,” says Olivier, believing that he no longer finds meaning in what he does. “We ended up spending our time applying for grants. was no longer Do it yourself, we had changed the paradigm”, he adds. Not to mention the health crisis, which has harmed the world of culture.
After more than fifteen years making spectators dance, the Michelet Stage says goodbye, along with its founder. A place that was born in August 2007, when Olivier Piard became the theater stage. “At that time there was no artistic coherence. There was black-metal and poetry! We made everything come and go,” he recalls, a smile on his face. Then, over the years, this Becquet lover turned to metal culture at the same time as Le Ferrailleur, another Nantes concert bar, thanks in particular to a world-famous festival. “I had a revelation thanks to Hellfest. This festival is the locomotive. Le Ferrailleur is a wagon and we get on its wheel. From that moment, I started having fun. »
“Ten Years of Happiness and Five Years of Trouble”
Then came the concerts, turning the café-concert into a meeting place for lovers of rock and metal. Meanwhile, some names already known by the general public have stepped on the Michelet Stage: Biga Ranx, Didier Super, San Severino or even Dave Lombardo, the drummer of the group Slayer. “Ten years of happiness and five years of problems,” sums up Olivier. “But it will have been the best period of my professional life. It’s still a success, we’ve lasted fifteen years! “A place that he grew up with, and whose future is not yet defined.
Focused on the follow-up that will be given to the Michelet Stage, its owner wants to propose an artistic “transition period”, before perhaps seeing the place move on to “something else”.