About This Festival
Music and Animal Welfare
The award-winning, boutique Pete the Monkey Festival — which spans three days every July — occurs just outside the picturesque rural village of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer (upper Normandy) on a plot of land along the English Channel. A cozy, deliberately small event with less than 2000 patrons, Pete the Monkey Festival has an animal-welfare mission, an emphasis on fine-dining pop-ups, and a variety of entertainment aimed at family fun by day and adult raucousness by night.
Pete the Monkey Festival's booking looks to unite musicians from either side of the English Channel and provide a variety of moods, from family friendly to bacchanalian splendor. To that end, the lineups of mostly French and English artists involve steamy techno, campy cabaret, austere singers, indie-rock, jazz, and experimental electronic music alike.
It Started On YouTube
In a very 21st-century flourish, it started with a viral YouTube clip. The video shows Pete, a monkey, gamely washing dishes in a creek in Bolivia. Beyond just the namesake of Pete the Monkey Festival, it inspired organizers to direct all of the event's proceeds after expenses to El Chapar's Inti Wara Yassi, the biggest monkey sanctuary in Bolivia, a country in which the animals often sadly fall prey to criminal trafficking. This theme extends to an idyllic setting, which organizers hope enables attendees to "get back to nature and rediscover your inner gorilla," as the website reads.
The annual festival started as a 350-person party in 2011, a number that reached 1,000 in 2014 and sold out with an attendance of 1500 the next year.
Pete the Monkey Festival occurs in the upper Normandy countryside along the English channel, where a variety of stages accommodate different styles: the main stage, where prominent bookings perform, is set up on an old tennis court with the help of two tractor trailers; the barn stage hosts DJs and late-night events; the acoustic stage, situated under a big oak tree, is a more intimate space for smaller, softer bands; and the silent stage, which is in a forested area, delivers live music and DJs sets to patrons through wireless headphones.
When you're not after your inner gorilla, as the organizers intend, you can sample food from a variety of fine-dining pop-ups by chefs and restaurateurs from throughout Western Europe. And since the event draws no more than a couple thousand attendees for several days, it's a genially communal atmosphere for forging friendships either on the dance floor or at a cozy campsite nearby; plus, there's nothing to stop you from venturing off alone for a solo reverie at your leisure in the aqueous environs.