60,000 'ravers' expected for illegal festival in Marne

The department of the Marne has outlawed the festival but revellers appear to be arriving and beginning the event anyway

Up to 60,000 people are expected to descend on Marigny in the Marne department this week, for a rave festival dubbed Teknival 2018, despite it being ruled as illegal.

Although the event has been outlawed by local authorities, and concerns have been being raised over the threat posed to local flora and fauna, it appears to be going ahead anyway.

Over 10,000 people began to arrive in Marigny in a vehicle convoy on Saturday, having parked in a car park in Provins (Seine-et-Marne, Grand Est) on Friday night. The festival officially begins on May 1.

This week, the authorities in Centre-Val-de-Loire and Seine-et-Marne took out a decree outlawing the event, but the latter only came into force after participants had already arrived in the department.

The Marne prefecture has since published a decree prohibiting any “festive gathering of a musical nature in the department”, along with the delivery or installation of any sound equipment.

Yet, event organisers have said that they had requested official authorisation for the use of land space, and had also sought to provide emergency services for attendees, but that talks with authorities had failed.

The site chosen for the event, part of the “Natura2000 zone”, is worrying other groups too; bird protection organisation La Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux de Champagne-Ardenne issued a statement saying that it was home to several endangered species of flora and fauna.

It said: “The holding of this event, like with previous ones, will have an irreparable impact on the [site’s] biodiversity and destroy years of effort [to improve it].”

Teknival - which is in its 25th year - is an annual event, with the exact location not revealed until a couple of days before it begins.

Last year, around 30,000 people arrived in Pernay (Indre-et-Loire).

Yet, this is not the first time the festival-goers have chosen a Marne town for their festivities; it also happened in 2001, 2003 and 2005. In 2014, they descended on an air base in Reims.

It is not clear what the consequences will be should the event proceed as planned, given its prohibition, but a Tweet from the department's council president, Christian Bruyen, suggested that Gendarmerie and other "backup" had been sent to the site in an effort to secure it and prevent the event from taking place.

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