Jacques Canet, four decades at the service of culture

“It was an extraordinary adventure”, immediately launches the Orthézien to the fore…

“It was an extraordinary adventure”, immediately launches the Orthézien at the head of the cultural seasons since its creation, in 1996, as well as of the Fébus city festivals, for thirty-two years. “It is thanks to the party that I found myself in this position,” the musician rewinds.

band night

Saxophonist of the municipal harmony, then leader of the Orthez band in the early 1980s, Jacques Canet was only 17 years old when he joined the Festival Committee as a volunteer. The young man will notably be at the origin of the night of the bands.

Having become mayor, his neighbor and former teacher, René Ricarrère, sees in the cheerful companion the ideal candidate to lead the fair and the cultural program of the City. “Holidays are a true thermometer of society,” he says.

And after two years of pandemic and deprivation of this summer outlet, it plans a very hot edition next July.

“The big difference between my beginnings and today is that at that time we never talked about money. Today we start counting the peanuts to know what we do with them »

Now hand in hand with a young woman hired part-time to succeed her at the helm of the event, the Holidays of 2022 are actively preparing and the new retiree will not deliver any indiscretions. “This year I will be on the other side of the counter, celebrating”, he rejoices, remembering the 90s in which the event mobilized dozens of volunteers for several months to decorate the floats with a fantastic parade of flowers.

His memory also unearths a parade of big cats through the streets of the city. “The big difference between my beginnings and today is that at that time we never talked about money. We had ideas, wishes and in the end we paid. Today we start counting the peanuts to know what we do with them”, he confesses.

The lure of entertainment

In his album, Jacques Canet contains a collection of faces. The artists of a thousand scheduled shows and about 120,000 spectators gathered. “It’s a team effort and I had the opportunity to work with a great and dedicated team,” he says.

Co-founder of the jazz festival, this lover of the blue note, preserves above all the meetings and the satisfaction of having welcomed, in particular, Manu Dibango, Maurane, Michel Jonasz, Manu Katché and many others.

In his marshal’s baton, Jacques Canet enrolled Ibrahim Maalouf and Marcus Miller, whose arrival could testify to the aura of the jazz festival. “Orthez had a great business card with this event that people still talk to me about,” he says without hiding the melancholy caused by his disappearance. The magic festival that followed is less expensive for the City and attracts more people.

And the programmer fears that the health crisis will change cultural habits. “People will go out more for entertainment than for more demanding cultural proposals. The role of a public service is to offer both”, he believes. And the success of cultural mediation with the school audience, around the shows of the season, attests, for him, to that necessary support for curiosity and diversity.

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