Main Square Festival

Main Square Festival
The Main Square Festival is an annual open-air music festival held on the first weekend of July in the city of Arras, France. It was named after the main square of Arras, La Grand’Place, where the festival takes place. The square is known for its unique architectural ensemble of Flemish-Baroque-style townhouses.

In 2004, the city authorities of Arras decided to revitalize the cultural life of the Pas-de-Calais department by organizing a large-scale music festival. The inaugural Main Square Festival took place in July 2004. The event was organized by France Leduc Production. The first festival was a one-day event headlined by Placebo and opened by the local rock band Gomm. It attracted around 10,000 music fans.

Attendance somewhat declined the next year but the 2006 Main Square Festival was a real breakthrough. It featured Muse and Depeche Mode as headliners, attracting 43,000 attendees over two days. The festival has been growing ever since. The Main Square Festival now draws around 120,000 people each year.

The Main Square Festival encompasses different genres and styles of music including classic rock, indie rock, alternative rock, pop, hip hop, and electronic dance music (EDM). Its past headliners include Radiohead, System of a Down, The Offspring, Iggy Pop, Stromae, Iron Maiden, Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Kasabian, Blink-182, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Rammstein, Kanye West, and other notable bands and musicians.

The Main Square Festival was originally held at La Grand’Place. The unique architectural ensemble of the square was one of the main factors that attracted people to the festival, along with the line-up. However, as the festival grew it had to move to another venue because the square has a maximum capacity of 30,000. Since 2010, the Main Square has been held at the Vauban Citadel, a 17th century citadel that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Fortifications of Vauban.

Main Square Festival

Photo © Nicko Guihal




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