Cabinet of curiosities

300 customers in one night? He’s been there, done that, but that’s not really what gets the owner going. Behind the bar at Fotomat, you’ll find Julien, former philosophy student turned bar manager. He doesn’t give a damn if the crowds don’t come. As far as he’s concerned, Fotomat is first and foremost a concert venue. It’s written in its DNA. Not only that, this is a place that refuses to be pigeonholed, a place for trying stuff out, often bizarre stuff that you wouldn’t come across anywhere else. Innovation and discovery, that’s the key. Why not release jazz compilations or let the students of the ESCAM (Ecole Supérieure d'Arts de Clermont Métropole, situated just the opposite) have free reign? Sure! Neighbouring a printing factory, the venue features a huge exhibition space which leads into a concert venue with immaculate white walls, which even hosts plays and dance shows…

Basically, whatever the owner fancies booking, there’s no pressure for events to sell out and there’s no agenda. So simply take a look at the line-up, get some money from the ATM and don’t let the exterior put you off (it’s a car park). It’s ideal for parking your car, less so if you dreamt of a terrace in bloom. What may look a bit like a squat, inside you’ll find a small pop paradise: the beer is cold, locally-brewed and reasonably priced, and the shows are wonderfully beautiful as they are edgy. This venue has got its heart in the right place, and it’s definitely one to discover and support.

Nico Prat

I want more!