For the lovers of the ninth art, the festival of Angouleme is among the best opportunities to explore the vast world of comics, or as the French call them Bande Dessinée (BD)!
The Angouleme BD Festival is among the biggest festivals of its kind and exists since 1974. It is hosted in the magnificent city of Angouleme, located in central west France. Its international nature attracts artists from all over the world, who present their work, meet their peers and discuss with publishers their upcoming steps. The festival features various attraction throughout the city that can satisfy the particular tastes of each comics lover.
Even if the festival is international, the greater presence is the one of franco-phone artists. On the same time various artists from all over Europe, the US and Asia were in the festival. In fact in this year’s organization, Katsuhiro Otomo was present in the festival in order to talk about his work on manga and anime. The festival consists of four main expos: one featuring upcoming artists, where participants can meet and see the amazing work of new or upcoming artists, discuss with them and buy their books. The festival also features a mainstream comics venue, where famous artists present their comic books and discuss with the audience about their work, an Asian comics pavilion, featuring the work of various Japanese, Chinese and Korean artists and special section to meet publishers and explore the work of famous comic artists, like Hugo Pratt and Maurice.
Several events and exhibitions around the festival are organized on the same time in the city and a special “underground” festival, called “off” takes place. Just by walking in the streets of Angouleme, one can bump into people waiting in front of houses just to enter a special secret exhibition or find events, parties and workshops that are not presented in the official program. This amazing experience is also consistent with the size of the city, someone can walk around or take a dedicated shuttle. You ca n make your research, spot the books and artists you like and find them in the festival. Take your time and discuss with them. If you have particular projects you want to present them, I would recommend meeting them before the weekend, since during this time, everyone will be busy signing their books and the lines will be rather big.
The city, featuring one of the most interesting game design schools in France, has several places that people can enjoy their coffee or delicacy while waiting for a new exhibition. Several beautiful and romantic cafes are open from dusk till dawn and participants of the festival can enjoy a relaxing moment, reading their new comic books while preparing their next visit to an attractions.