Ragnard Rock Fest
Interview with Andrea & Franco Giannelli
By Oliver M.
Founded in France in 2015, Ragnard Rock Fest has recently become one of the most important and successful Folk/Pagan metal festivals in Europe. The 3rd edition of RRF will take place in Simandre-sur-Suran from the 20th to the 23rd of July 2017. We contacted the organizers Andrea and Franco Giannelli so they could give us more details about this unique festival.
Hi Franco and Andrea! Ragnard Rock Fest was created about two years ago. First of all, could you please tell us the reasons for organizing this festival?
Andrea: Slava Olivier! Franco and I created the festival in order to promote our passion for music, history and the attraction to pagan cultures.
The first two editions of Ragnard Rock Fest took place in Simandre-sur-Suran, in the South-East of France. I remember that you moved the festival site to another place for the 2016 edition. Are you going to move to another place again for this year?
Andrea: It’s hard to tell the future but we’re working with all local authorities so that Ragnard Rock Fest could take place in the site of the 2016 edition.
How many festival-goers did you welcome during the previous editions? The 2016 edition was sold out if I remember well. How many people are you expecting for next year?
Franco: Regarding the first edition, we had the chance to welcome about 7 500 persons over 3 days. In 2016, we welcomed 14 000 persons over 4 days and this year, we’re expecting around 20 000 people over 4 days.
You’ve been gathering Black / Death / Pagan / Folk metal bands mostly but also some Medieval/Folk music acts so far. Are you planning to invite bands playing other metal styles in the future?
Andrea: We’re never asking ourselves the questions in terms of musical genre. We invite bands that we absolutely love but our choice also depends of the band’s image which has to be consistent with our personal values and the ones shared by the festival. Therefore, it is very likely that other musical styles take place at Ragnard Rock as long as they’re in harmony with the festival’s ideology.
Franco: It’s obvious that our musical choices will always be related to the festival’s general theme.
In addition to music, you also organized some medieval/Viking battles. Are you going to give more importance to this subject for the next editions?
Andrea: Yes indeed, the development of the Viking village is a priority for us. There will be some improvements, novelties and many surprises every year. For 2017, we’re planning to give pride of place to Norway, its culture, history and identity. We’re always attentive to our festival-goers and our goal is to propose a unique and memorable moment before everything. It’s in this approach that we’re going to widen and strengthen the village’s impact for the 2017 edition with many novelties and improvements.
In 2015, you welcomed Ukrainian legends Nokturnal Mortum for their first show in France, which was surprising at that time (especially for this country). Their live performance was very successful and praised by critics. Now, do you think this show was crucial to strengthen the festival’s renown in France and thus make it even bigger?
Andrea: I agree. It’s obvious that such a legendary act like Nokturnal Mortum played a crucial role in the festival’s reputation. I think it’s above all else a collaboration that succeeded in creating a common energy, thanks to our mutual friendship and love. A bridge between two cultures and we simply believe that we created something strong between our respective clans which are as one now.
Ragnard Rock Fest has been compared by fans to Kilkim Žaibu, Steelfest and Zobens un Lemess Open Air. According to you, what makes it different from the others?
Andrea: We’re extremely proud of those comparisons. The aforementioned festivals are part of my favourites. I have a huge respect for the work done by those passionate and honest people. Nevertheless, I think Ragnard Rock Fest has its own identity as the concept is more global and we aim first for the promotion of a concept, which leads us to propose more various elements in terms of programme.
Franco: What makes it different from the others is maybe the fact that we consider RRF as a global event (historical and musical) and not only a music festival.
Do you think you will be able to compete with the biggest French metal festivals in the next five or ten years? Or would you prefer to restrict Ragnard Rock Fest to a group of passionate fans?
Andrea: We don’t aim to become a big festival. We want to grow but at our own pace, by staying close-knit. We’re indeed a festival made by passionate people and dedicated to passionate people.
You organized a short series of gigs called Ragnard Winter Nights (with Khors and Selvans throughout Europe) in the beginning of this year. Why this choice? Are you planning to organize some one-off shows as well?
Andrea: Since the creation of the project, it was important this festival wouldn’t take place over one week-end only. We wanted to create something lively and itinerant, which would spread over the year. The festival is very lively. We like to stay close to our fans and to offer this experience throughout the year.
Could you please give us some details about Rising Moon Productions?
Franco: First of all, Rising Moon Production SL is the company owning the rights of Ragnard Rock Fest. It’s also a booking agency which has production activities for some bands confirmed in our festival and concerts. But most importantly, its strategy is to bring the same Ragnard spirit in the daily management of musical bands.
Thanks a lot guys for your time and kindness. It was a great pleasure to meet you at Ragnard Rock Fest last year and I hope to see you again soon. Do you have anything special to add to conclude this interview?
Andrea: Thanks to you, my friend. You’re very welcome!
I would simply say that in those hard times we’re living in, it’s important not to forget where we come from and always keep one eye on the past in order to see and build the future. It’s just up to us to shape a better world, of peace and sharing.
Hails to you, your readers, our pagan warriors all over the world and we’ll welcome you this Summer to be in communion with our ancestors once again!