This week, let’s highlight an organization that is essential to the running of HELLFEST. Every morning, Festival goers who sleep on campsite use to meet volunteers from ANIMAJE for breakfast. This local association is highly involved in the working of HELLFEST. Its Director, Jacques ALBERT, kindly accepted to tell a bit more about it…
A - Can you first present ANIMAJE ? When (and how) was this association you’re responsible, created?
J.A. - ANIMAJE is a non-profit association. It is driven by a board including elected people from the Clisson area (wich represents 8 towns), parents, supporters and youngsters, from which 6 members are managing the association as volunteers. Also 10 graduated people are working as full time salaried (which leads to 12 full-time equivalent as including seasonal employees) employees, organized following a classical structure : director, deputy director and animators. We currently are in charge of 8 youth clubs (in 8 different towns from Clisson valley’s area..
Though what is ANIMAJE about?
First of all, ANIMAJE is a youth socio-educational organization which avails itself of, declaim as and consists in a public education organization. This denomination, as the legacy of voluntary and militing past, is part of an education project and is led by values that define the sense of our action. This associative and militing direction is acknowledged by government through conferming of « Youth and Public Education » approval.
ANIMAJE is based upon values such as solidarity, equal opportunities, altruism, valuation of the individual through performing collective actions, sexual social or religious non-discrimination, and prevalence of common interest to the detriment of the sum of all individual interests.
Far from this mainly told wishful thinking reminding people that« youth is the future of society », and that we have to « believe in our youth », though finally too many adults close doors to youngsters, restricting them to only watching, or consuming society and their own life, ANIMAJE chose another path.
Our associative project can be summarized to :
Consider youth as a resource to valuate more than a social issue to manage
Here is, in a few words, the spirit that fuels and define the action of volunteer leaders, supporters and employees of our association.
After more than 17 years of existence based upon the same postulate and the same educational directions, we are now in position to note the impact of it, and make a concrete evaluation on how it influenced the development of young people involved in it, and also on development of our action on our area..
1st observation : in 2014, more than 400 young people will take part to summer or winter holidays, in France or outside. Involvement of youngsters in the organization and self-financing of their project is a real thing and can’t be denied.
Youth involvement and responsibilization approach in supporting the organization of their holidays is undeniably a reality.
2nd observation : Last year, young people from ANIMAJE created, or got involved in about twenty events (concerts, forums, Music festival, and so on…). A large part of the public population took part in almost all of those events
Young people are obviously vectors of social and intergenerational connections.
3rd observation : Nearly 150000 people are expected to attend HELLFEST 2014 edition. 950 older-than-18 volunteers from ANIMAJE are enlisted to help running the event.
If today HELLFEST, as a major cultural event, federates the local population regardless of sex, age or social class la population locale, how was it in the beginning of the fest in 2006, when few people wanted it and many feared it ?
If the 16-20-year-old class from the first editions didn’t mobilize to work on this event (created by Ben Barbaud, former young member of ANIMAJE, whom we supported, he and his friends, to organize his first concert, just saying…), there wouldn’t be this federating and dynamic keen interest for our countryside.
Young people are obviously some source of creation and innovation.
4th observation : During those 17 years, dozens of european exchanges occured, as conveying equipement, youth exchanges, volunteers sites, discovery travels, or more indirectly sports meetings . This European dynamic , supported by Conseil General de Loire-Atlantique and Europe, not only allowed more than 500 young french and foreign people to make a concrete and friendly Europe come true, but also allowed existing twinning comittees (with towns of Sisesti, Klettgau, Alatri) to revitalize, by opening them to some new activities.
Young people that way take a significant and leading part in European Construction, on a local scale and in a popular way.
Public Education which we refer to, is, among various ways, based on non-formal education,and learning by acting and sharing knowledges and know-how. Youth’s implication in project management approach –with everything it implies in terms of methodology acquisition, network development, team building/working, responsibility awareness and taking initiatives – helped young adults to be more prepared to start their active life of men and women. You can be aware of that by the large amount of testimonies from « former youngsters » who come back and visit the youth clubs, or from parents telling us that our actions provided significant building blocks to their teenagers.
Maybe it was a bit long…Well,I’m proud of it !
A - I have understood that the association is involved in HELLFEST since the beginning of the event. How were the first contacts initiated?
J.A. - Well, this happened in a very simple way. Ben (Barbaud –founder of HELLFEST) was a young man from Clisson who attended town’s youth club.At that time already, he felt like being an events creator, and ANIMAJE helped him to manage his projects of organizing concerts. Then he left to Le Mans. After those setbacks he had with FURY FEST, he came back to family fold and got back in touch with youth club. This is when he propose to recreate something in Clisson including, among others, ANIMAJE as a partner. HELLFEST was born and here we started our collaboration with the fest.
A - Every morning on the campsite, we have the pleasure to cross some of your volunteers for breakfast. Globally speaking, what is the role of your association during the festival ? How many people are involved?
J.A. - Agreement we have with HELLFEST PROD is following : we manage our volunteerson some positions , and in return they allow our youngsters to sell breakfasts on campsite and let them keep their sales’ benefits. They also clean the campsite after festival so that they finance their summer holidays (or activities).
Simply speaking: adult volunteers from ANIMAJE work to allow youngsters to work and keep what they earn thank to this!
In 2014 : ▪ 950 adult volunteers aged from 18 ans, to our 76 year-old member Average age : 35/40.
Positions taken : - General mangement of ANIMAJE volunteers,
- help for mounting (each weekend since may 17th, les WE à partir du 17 mai, one month before festival starts) and for dismantling.
- Car park,
- token banks management (site & métal corner). 1 500 000 tokens handled
- Catering for volunteers (5000 meals scheduled during 3 days)
- Environment maintenance with ANIMAJ’GREEN (collection and sorting of all kind of wastes ! Many tons of them…)
- « Thirst helpers » (« dessoiffeurs » in french)
- Big Wheel ticket selling.
▪ 160 youngsters to sell breakfasts (40 youngsters/day) on campsite on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings. They are supervised by parents and animators from ANIMAJE,
▪ 160 youngsters for cleaning campsite during all the week following the festival, also with parents and animators from ANIMAJE. I have to take my hatt off to all of them, because cleaning campsite is something REALLY HUGE!!!
On a global point of view ANIMAJE will manage 1250 volunteers during all 2014 Edition.
A - Is ANIMAJE also implied in mounting and dismantling of all the facilities ? In case it is, to what level of involvement?
J.A. - Yes, it is. We are involved every weekend from May 17th (that means one month before festival starts) and also during all week before Fest for mounting. Finally during all week after Fest for dismantling. Their level of involvement is “helping hand”!
A - Even if this is more an more anecdotal, HELLFEST is being attacked by various extremists. Regarding ANIMAJE involvement in the festival, was the association shot by those attacks? What was the impact on the way it runs ?
J.A. - Actually no! Surprisingly, we never got shot by any extremist ! On the other side, Institutions (Towns, Towns community, etc…) got to face some wild bunch…really wild!!! We never had to fear anything ! And especially I, as a native from Clisson, or as the director of a youth organization, I would have been a perfect target, though… I frankly think that all I have said before is like our best “shield”. The values on which our organization bases its involvement into HELLFEST is like giving the answer before hearing the question !
A - As a local association, involved in the life of surronding cities, ANIMAJE team is able to watch the way inhabitants feel about HELLFEST. How do you think this feeling evolved, on your point of view?
J.A. - Actually, in the beginning, this was strange, nearly worry. As soon as we saw those slightly unusual “men in black” invading the streets of Clisson (and at that time they were really not as numerous as today!) we were not that comfortable. We were close to the poin where we would regret to accept Ben’s project. And regarding the amount of policemen, SWAT teams and all those helicopters flying over our heads, we were not the only one to fear and regret.
Then as time went by, we learned to know –and appreciate - each other, Maybe our intergenerational action over HELLFEST played some part in that. Maybe also the fact that we only have volunteers living in the Clisson area (completed with few coopted people – groups of friends, Clisson natives now expatriates, etc…). The first adults who worked on the festival as volunteers could tell that “metalheads” were a big family, certainly looking strange, but who knew how to stand with people, polite and respectful to people and goods. Word was spread and today, we refuse people as volunteers !!! (200 people from Clisson area are still on a waiting list this year). Also, homestays works very well and play a major part in definitely settling the festival here.
A - Before being part of the HELLFEST with your association, what was your knowledge about Rock/metal world? And today, what is your feeling about this community? Avant de participer au HELLFEST avec votre association, que connaissiez-vous du monde Rock/Metal ? Et aujourd’hui, quel est votre regard sur cette communauté ?
J.A. - Frankly speaking, I even did not know that Metal existed! And obviously much less about all its sub genres…
The soundtrack of my own youth was made with Dire Straits, Deep Purple, Status Quo…and not that much!
Last year, some journalist from « Ouest France » asked me whether Clisson, during the Fest was Heaven or Hell.
I replied this thing: Clisson is indeed like a little paradise, with its kind of Italian touch, etc…and were life is good. Though if Hell is like those three days of HELLFEST, I would love to go there!
I think it is a pretty good summary of our state of mind.
Many thanks to M. ALBERT for kindness and availability…