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Travel

Hanging Out with Bull Riders and Barn Dancers in France

Rednecks from all over the world gathered last month at France's biggest country music festival, West Country Festival.

by Lila Van der Meulen
08 September 2014, 11:00am

Photos by Michael Bunel

Every year, the West Country Festival—France's biggest country music festival—gathers thousands of visitors from all over the world eager to barn dance and watch equestrian shows while wearing cowboy hats. This year it took place in the town of Châteaubriand, in the heart of historic Brittany.

As soon as we arrived in Châteaubriand, my photographer and I found ourselves right in the middle of a crowd of cowboys and couples in matching outfits. Checked shirts and light colors were predictably all the rage, and a lot of people carried folding chairs they hastened to set up around the dance floors.

Bull riding. The clowns are there to divert the animal in the event of a fall.

After wandering around for a while, we met two bull riders—Little Wolf and Chad. They had both traveled from New Mexico and said they had spent the whole year training for the West Country Festival. They told us that's exactly what they'll spend the coming year doing, too.

I'll probably just stick to country-dancing YouTube tutorials.

Check out more of Michael Bunel’s work on his website.