MARNY-LE-GRANDE, France, May 1 (©AFP) – Some 25,000 fans were expected to attend France’s big rave, the three-day Teknival 2003 starting Thursday, while local environmentalists looked on in dismay.
This time the event will be official. The organisers are cooperating with the French interior ministry to make sure all goes smoothly at the venue in northern France.
A disused former NATO base in the remote countryside of Marigny-le-Grand came to life as more than 10,000 youngsters assembly by Thursday night.
Teknival has been a big pull to 20,000 to 50,000 French fans for 10 years. But this year’s is the first such large-scale rave organized in cooperation with the interior ministry.
“We have been negotiating with the government since September,” said an organiser.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday all precautions had been taken to ensure the ravers’ safety, including police supervision and an appropriate site.
The regional administration has spent some EUR 30,000 on police, medical teams and equipment including water tanks, toilet facilities and bottled water.
Local environmentalists, however, are less worried about the ravers than about the site itself.
Some 15 environmentalist groups have signed a statement deploring the excessive noise and the number of people at the Teknival as a threat to Marigny-le-Grand’s sensitive environment.
“Must areas already endangered be sacrificed to accommodate entertainment?” the statement asked.
It referred in particular to an unauthorized rave here in 2001 that irreparably damaged flora and fauna, and caused almost all the bird population to abandon its brood, including several endangered species.