Carcassonne, France 24 July 2013
A luxuriously late lobby call of 5 o'clock this afternoon for an hour flight from Barcelona to Carcassonne, France. We taxied around the Barcelona airport for what seemed nearly that long before arriving at the correct runway for take off. Platters of delicious soft shell crab, shrimp, grilled salmon sushi were devoured in that short flight.
Carcassonne is at the southern tip of France, the first sings of fortification of the hill go back to 100 B.C. by the Romans. The walled city on the hill was founded in the 5th century and has within it's walls a castle, mote and draw bridge and St. Nazaire basilica. Under Napoleon it fell into neglect and ruin. When in the mid-1800s a declaration to raze the ruins drew the anger of many, the mayor of Carcassone lead a movement to have it restored which began in 1853. While the restoration was not as true to the original as it might have been, the walled city took on a new life. The origins of the annual Carcassone Festival began in 1908 when the mayor put forth a proposal that if a play was performed it would draw many people and thus bolster the town's trade. A simple stage was erected, chairs and benches for 5,000 were set up. People took it by storm, a huge success and it has been a yearly even since, with a few exceptions.
And so it was the Carcassone Festival within the walled city that we played. That simple early set up was been transformed to a somewhat modern, outdoor stone amphitheatre seating 3,100. We took the stage at 9:30 with exactly one week left of this tour, still excited and anxious to play. I've gone on far too much over the course of these notes about great audiences and great shows and this was another one of those remarkable nights. Enough said. The first time we've played here and hopefully not the last.
A runner back to Barcelona arriving at the hotel around 1 in the morning with a quick stop in the bar for a short night cap then bed.