Teknival: why isn't the forbidden festival dislodged?

The Teknival, an undeclared rave party, is held until Sunday May 21 in Villegongis (Indre) despite the prefecture's ban.

Teknival: why isn't the forbidden festival dislodged?

The Teknival, an undeclared rave party, is held until Sunday May 21 in Villegongis (Indre) despite the prefecture's ban. An injured person is in absolute emergency and other accidents have occurred, but the authorities cannot dislodge the partygoers.

[Updated May 19, 2023 at 3:54 p.m.] Between 15,000 and 20,000 people are present in Villegongis, a small village in Indre north of Châteauroux where the Teknival is organized, this Friday, May 19. The unmissable event for techno music enthusiasts has been banned by the prefecture, but organizers and partygoers did not hesitate to defy the ban. Up to 30,000 or even 40,000 people are expected at the peak of the festival. "The situation remains stable on the site" reassured the prefect of Indre, Stéphane Bredin in a press release published Friday morning, but the police and the volunteers mobilized to ensure the security of the festival remain on the alert. and are regularly called upon: "rescuers from civil protection associations have assisted 86 people" since the start of Teknival, according to the prefecture.

Despite the prefectural decrees, the authorities have given up on evacuating festival-goers as a security measure and given the unequal balance of power between partygoers and members of the police: tens of thousands against a little more of 200. The gendarmes will monitor and secure as much as possible the surroundings of the Teknival until the end of the event, this is scheduled for the night of Sunday May 22 but the festival could continue until Monday morning. The holding of the festival greatly displeases the neighboring villages who complain of the nuisance caused, in particular the noise, and denounce a form of impunity due to the non-respect of the prohibitions. "A mini-city was set up in the space of 24 hours, without any means, without water, without means of waste collection, without sanitation and public health. [...] There is a feeling of anger and frustration," the mayor of Levroux and president of the sector's community of communes, Alexis Rousseau-Jouhennet, told RMC.

A 40-year-old man was injured and is in absolute emergency after being run over by a car on the sidelines of Teknival, we learned this Friday, May 19, the second day of the festival. The circumstances of the accident are not yet known, but the man was taken to hospital in Châteauroux in critical condition, reports Franceinfo, two other people were also hospitalized. 16 other partygoers are in relative emergency according to additional information from BFMTV.

Since the start of the festival "rescuers from civil protection associations have assisted 86 people" and the advanced medical post has recorded 18 entries. On the outskirts of Teknival, road checks carried out by the gendarmes resulted in two police custody for "traffic offense and driving under the influence of narcotics" and 23 verbalizations for possession of narcotics.

Given the influx of people in Villegongis and the means deployed for security, other accidents are to be feared. Authorities and event organizers have mobilized hundreds of people to secure the venue, but with more than 30,000 festival-goers that may not be enough.

Why let the electro festival take place after prohibiting it by two prefectural decrees? The prefect did not expressly mention the reasons, but the security of the village and its 120 inhabitants seems to be at the heart of the matter: forcibly dislodging the 30,000 festival-goers expected at Teknival seems difficult and the hypothesis raises fears of excesses between festival-goers and law enforcement. "I am in contact with the prefect so that all the security is implemented and is sufficient to ensure a show without damage", added Jean-Marc Seuvault, the mayor of Villegongis after the start of the festival.

An explanation and proof of "pragmatism" according to the former gendarme interviewed by RMC, Bertrand Cavallier who points to an unequal balance of power between partygoers and the police. “There is a whole action of vehicle control, identification of individuals, preventive actions to avoid driving under an alcoholic state. The gendarmerie will then constitute a pivotal force to which other services will be added. of the State and associations to ensure that the event goes as well as possible", explained the specialist in the maintenance of order.

Could measures be taken before the installation of the festival? "The gendarmerie had been alerted, there was an intelligence plan," said the former gendarme, but the authorities lost a "speed race" against seasoned organizers who "use well-protected networks, set up a meeting point and come to several hundred". A way of acting that complicates any intervention.

Since Thursday and until Sunday, 200 gendarmes are deployed daily to ensure the safety of teufeurs of Teknival. Among these members of the police, 120 are mobile gendarmes from Marseille and Blois, said prefect Stéphane Bredin.

In addition to the measures taken by the authorities, the organizers of the Teknival indicated that 11 associations represented by 130 volunteers are mobilized to inform partygoers about the various risks associated with taking narcotics and alcohol but also about sexual health. In addition to information centres, preventive measures are available: blood alcohol tests or even condoms. An infirmary has also been set up on site to be able to take care of partygoers who feel bad.

The reason that prompted the prefecture to ban the Teknival demonstration in Indre from Wednesday May 17 is the same one that now invites the authorities to supervise rather than evacuate the event: security. The great mass of electro, which is celebrating its 30th edition, is an event too large to be hosted by the small town of Villegongis. The Indre prefecture has thus issued two decrees in order to prohibit "the illegal installation of any festive gathering of an undeclared musical nature" until 6 a.m. on Monday May 22, and to prohibit "traffic for vehicles transporting sound equipment or electricity production".

If the Teknival is prohibited it is also because it is an undeclared event, a particularity specific to events related to electro music. Finally, no public land being able to receive the tens of thousands of festival-goers, it was to avoid the illegal occupation of private land that the gathering was prohibited, in vain. The 2023 edition of Teknival took place on agricultural land with an area of ​​70 hectares and apartment for a resident of Châteauroux who was not informed of the event, nor of the occupation of his land, according to the mayor of Villegongis.

The Teknival, the result of the contraction of the words "techno" and "festival", is an event well known to fans of techno and electro music, considered one of the biggest rave parties in France. The festival even brings together partygoers from all over Europe. Every year since its first edition in 1993, the Teknival has transformed a small corner of the French countryside into a temple of techno for a weekend or four days, most of the time illegally and offers a 100% show. free to festival-goers.

Clandestineness is the very principle of a rave party, it was only between 2003 and 2016 that the Teknivals were organized with the authorization of the State services. But the 2023 edition of Teknival is special in that it marks the return of the festival after three years of absence, the last gathering dating from 2019 before the Covid-19 epidemic.

This year the organizers of the Teknival have dropped off their bags in Indre, a few kilometers from Châteauroux. The tradition is that the gathering takes place in the center of France as the organizers indicated in a press release in 2016: in a place almost equidistant from the four corners of the country and neighboring countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain , Italy, Germany or the Netherlands.