Varning fest: Interview with Janick

 

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Each year, everyone is waiting impatiently for the unveiling of the Varning Fest line up. Once again this year, we are not disappointed!

Making a list of bands not to be missed would be too long, so click here to see the full line up! If you have not already done so, mark an X on your calender for September 21 to 24, because with the matinee show, the flea market, the after shows, not to mention the (normal) shows… you may not even have the time to sleep!

While you’re there, do not miss DEAD HERO, punk oi band from Colombia, who will be on tour. To see if they are playing near you, click here.

Here is an interview with Janick, the kick-ass woman who organizing the festival!


At first, why did you start the Varning fest? 

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Well the festival started off in 2007 with the 1st anniversary of the Katacombes. I’d booked Meanwhile (Sweden), Born Dead Icons, Inepsy, Wolrd Burns to Death, Caustic Christ ++. It was stressful and I was doing mostly everything by myself but it went so well that I decided to do it the year after and the rest is history. This year is th

e 11th edition of the festival so the 11th anniversary of the Katacombes and I have a killer line up for all Varning fans! After years and years of trying to get them Almighty Japanese band FRAMTID is finally playing, I’m super stoked to see them again! Along side Glorious?

From Sweden, HEZ from Panama, Adictox from Cuba, Dead Hero and Primer Regimen from Colombia and a lot of U.S./Canadian bands like: Aspects of war, Isotope, Blood Pressure, La Misma, Remnants, Urchin, Extended Hell, Subversive Rite, Antifaces, Devil Master, Petite, D.O.G, Male Patterns, Durs Coeurs, Omerta, Parasytes, Tighlip, Torment, Lysergic, ODD, King Cans, MOblish, Mueco, Zymotic and Sanction A.

How has it evolved over the years?

Every year is different healdiners and out-of-town bands (so I try) but it,s still remain the same festival with the same DIY international vibe. I always get bands from Japan or Sweden (cause the name of the fest is taken from a Swedish punk comp A Varning for Punx haha) and I add the bands that I like and fits with the line up.I had a post punk night for a few years but not this year as that style is fading out a bit and I couldn’t find a bigger headliner that never played Varning that was available. I also try to set the line up so the bands are not too disparate cause I don’t like paying for a show and only wanting to see 3-4 bands out of 8-9, so the Thursday is more Punk Rock and Friday and Saturday more D-Beat raw punk crust.

 

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How do you get so many international bands each year?

Well, I’ve been touring for 20 years and organizing shows/tours running venues so I know a few people haha and I try to keep in touch with them as much as I can. I also think the festival has an international reputation of it’s own now and bands wants to play, so some contact me but it’s mostly me that contact the bands that I like to see play. It’s really my vision as far as booking goes, it’s all in my head haha!

 

What are the best moments in the history of Varning? … and the worst?

OMG!! That’s a hard question, I am always super busy during the fest itself I couldn’t really have stories to tell beside technical difficulties, running around like a chicken without head and thinking I’m gonna die half way through haha but the bands are always super good, people enjoy themselves and tells me they knew half the line u but that they made a lot of great discoveries, plus I get to see everyone from around the globe in one place, it’s awesome! I remember the 1st Varning I was so stressed out and waited for WB2D to contact me from borders telling me if they’d cross and took them forever, they got held at the borders and finally showed up during the second half of the fest, it was a nightmare but I’d glad they finally made it!

The worst story would be 2 bands that played horribly and had weird comments on the stage and that kinda ruined the last night of the fest. But hey, shit do happen!

What is your background: you organize the fest but you are involved in several other projects, can you tell us about it?

Yes, well I’ve been actively involved in the punk since for 20 years now, I’ve started booking shows and running a venue back in the late 90’s with the opening of an all ages venue called L’X (The X) in 1998, took us 2 years to open it, we were a dozen punx. It lasted for 6 years and then we got evicted and me and Claudie co-founded the Katacombes venue in 2006. I’ve since been booking shows, tours (my own and friends bands) and of course Varning Festival. I’ve also co-founded an association for small venues and got involved in different committees to help small alternative venues voice their needs and opinions. I’ve also been signing in bands since I’m 17 years old (86’d, Fierce, Led by the blind, Hellbound, After the Bombs, Truncheons, Parasytes) and toured a bunch. What can I say…Punk rock is my life!! Haha!

The punk scene is still quite masculine, is what you do take less seriously you when you approach bands since you’re a woman? Have you seen an evolution in the place that women occupy in the scene over the years?

Well, since I’ve been doing this for while now, I guess it’s a bit easier than it used to be but I have to say that I did experienced some difficulties at first and I think it does has to do with being a woman unfortunately. I sometimes felt the bands would go ask the male bookers instead of me even if I knew them and it still happens today but very rarely. I also understand I’m not the only booker here haha but I can feel when it’s a question of prejudice or not and I felt it many times sadly.

I do think the scene has evolved and there are more women involved in the scene than ever and I am very proud and happy about that, we need to smash gender barriers and work together for the scene not against each other! I am very impressed with what groups like Sisterhood has accomplished in such a short period and I’m sure it inspires a whole new generation of women to take part of this scene and not just being a spectator. I can definetly say there are way more women that books shows then when I started in 1996! Fuck yeah!!

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Something you’d like to add?

I’d like to thank all the bands that ever played Varning (2007-2017) and also everyone involved specially my 2 partners at Katacombes venue: Claudie and Emma. I’d like to thanx as well our super soundman Olivier and all our bar and security staff and my cooking team making amazing food for all these bands! My Varning partner Jim Martin, and my helpers during the fest: JTA, Dan Pellisier and Nick Pappagiorgio and this year Dave Pearles, It has been an incredible decade and it isn’t over! I also wanted to thanx everyone that attends the festival because without all of you guys/girls, it wouldn’t exist! Cheers and see you in 2 weeks!! Arrghhhh!! Haha!

 

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