For a few days in July, Mirande, in Gascony (South-West of France), tranforms itself into an American town.
Over 165,000 people attended the Mirande Country Music Festival over 5 days in 2005 and it is now recognized as the first Country Music festival in Europe.
In 1993 the little "bastide" town of Mirande (pop. 4000) was looking for a way to "brighten up" the festival season and various possibilities were explored with the aim of attracting as many people as possible.
Alain RIBAUT, a "Mirandais" by birth and the Mayor's brother in law, launched the first 3 days Mirande Country Music Festival.
The site, the climate, the town of Mirande and the surrounding countryside added to the fun-loving people and the gastronomic pleasures of South-West of France all form a mix which perfectly correspond to this style of American music.
Motivated by the challenge of this first Festival, the inhabitants of Mirande formed the Mirande Country Music Association in February 1993 which worked hard through to the following July to witness a real success : 30,000 came to the Event.
Since then the Mirande Country Music festival has never looked back.
The Festival stages Country Music concerts from 5 pm until dawn the following day. There are also hot-air balloon flights, American cars, Harley-Davidsons and endless other attractions and activities for all the family.
Over 200 stands, on both the festival site and in the centre of town, propose numerous articles for sale including indian and western clothing and, of course, local gastonomic products.
All these elements have contributed to installing a happy and warm atmosphere where 7 to 77 year-olds brush shoulders in a convivial and festive mood which unites all the family.
Today the Festival's success has contributed enormously to the local economy and has enabled many full time jobs to be created. The Festival staff and over 350 volunteers work all year round to ensure the quality and good organisation of the event, which has recently been awarded the Midi-Pyrenees Cultural Tourism Trophy.
This superbe adventure is now 16 years old !