Vallamand (VD)At 60, he launches a metal festival
The first edition of Rock The Lakes will take place from August 19 to 21 on the shores of Lake Murten. Daniel Botteron tells how he realized his dream.
Daniel Botteron is a happy man. On Friday, this 60-year-old head of a small construction company in Broyard will see almost 2,000 people arrive at “his” festival. Rock The Lakes, the first of its name, will take place from August 19 to 21 on the shores of Lake Morat, in Vallamand (VD) – say Otto Lauper’s farm, if you have to ask for directions.
“We’re organizing something a little sick,” says this rock and metal fan on the phone, who has been traveling abroad for thirty years to see his favorite bands. He explains that he has always been surprised that there is no festival of this style in French-speaking Switzerland. The idea of getting started tickles him, especially since he already has the place in mind, a farmer’s land with an unobstructed view. In 2021, he decided to broadcast images of AC/DC, Mötley Crüe, Gotthard and Rammstein concerts on a giant screen, and 800 people traveled over two days.
“On Monday, when I sat down in my chair, I said to my wife: since the time that I want to, I think it’s the end of the day, I have to organize this festival” , says Daniel Botteron. He contacts the owner of the land, who agrees to make 40,000 m² available to him. Two other farmers leave him 24,000 m² for car parks. “Rock and metal fans are also entitled to an exceptional place and not just a potato field,” insists the entrepreneur.
Between 1500 and 2000 people per evening
The site of the reserved festival, it remains to find the artists. Daniel Botteron goes live with the Swiss and convinces bands like Shakra, Silver Dust or Crystal Ball. For the headliners, he works with the son of the owner of the Z7 concert hall in Pratteln, near Basel, and thus lands the Swedish rap metal veterans Clawfinger, the Finns of Beast in Black, followers of power metal, as well as Eisbrecher and Feuerschwanz. These last two, German, are also the demonstration that with its location close to the Germanic region, Rock The Lakes wants to target an audience on both sides of the röstis barrier. And this is confirmed in the ticket office: a large third of the tickets have found takers with the German Swiss. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people are expected each evening. It is already a success.
“At the commune, it coughed a little”
It remains to be seen how the inhabitants of this rather quiet region welcome the arrival of metal fans. “At the town, it coughed a bit when I announced my project, recognizes Daniel Botteron. But I was given an agreement in principle fairly quickly. There’s still a small minority of people who are scared, however, I’m amazed, there’s a rush of people from around the area who are coming to the festival. They’re going to be surprised, we don’t have nasty or gory stuff.”
We can just guess the two small skulls drawn in the ram’s head, the logo of Rock The Lakes. “I wanted something sturdy and Swiss,” explains the founder of the festival. Here, we are in nature and on this ground there are usually sheep and ponies. The horned beast won. Moreover, it is a totem 6 meters high with a ram’s head sculpted with a chainsaw that will guide festival-goers to the single 350 m² stage (the same as the big one at Festi’neuch) where 24 groups altogether.
After these three days of metal in Vallamand, Daniel Botteron will debrief with the owners of the land and the municipality, because he intends to do a second edition in 2023. But he warns: “We have a top place, I count a lot on the festival-goers for show that we are orderly people.”
Rock The Lakes, from August 19 to 21, Vallamand (VD). 1 day pass: 68 fr. 3-day pass: 158 fr. All info: rockthelakes.ch
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