The presidents of the Interfolk festival, the faces of the Haute-Loire festival

The presidents of the Interfolk festival, the faces of the Haute-Loire festival
The presidents of the Interfolk festival, the faces of the Haute-Loire festival

He is a volunteer like any other, but the president of Interfolk is a more than important keystone for the success of the festival. If he takes on a lot of responsibilities, he must act as a “good head of the family”, attentive to every detail of the organization.

In 60 years, Interfolk has had three presidents: Raymond Longo, between 1964 to 1994, Gérard Chalendard, until 2015 and since Maryline Mourgues. “Everyone brought their own touch,” says the latter.

A permanent and versatile role

In fact, the president is the legal manager of the association. At Interfolk, this role is completely voluntary like the rest of the members. “For me, the president has five hats,” explains Gérard Chalendard. He is a conductor, a facilitator, a manager, a trainer and also… a confessor. » So many missions which do not place the president above other volunteers. “We sometimes have to decide on certain decisions when we are at the head of the association, but if there are things to do, like picking up waste or others; It’s not because we are president that we are not going to do it,” explains Maryline Mourgues.

Haute-Loire: Interfolk fights against the aging image of folklore while retaining its traditional values

If certain “little blues” are only present occasionally at Interfolk, the president occupies this role full time, in addition to his work. “When you are president, it never really stops, like for the members of the office. It’s a long-term job so that the festival and the association continue,” recognizes Maryline Mourgues.

A representative mission

On a daily basis, the head of the association is also a person in the field. “We have to go to the communities that welcome us, meet the group leaders and during the week of the festival, we do what is necessary to make the festival-goers feel good and ensure that the volunteers’ concerns are resolved,” explain the two figures. from Interfolk.

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Growing administrative difficulties

According to the two members of the association, being a good president is based on several criteria. “You have to know the association inside out, have an eye on everything and above all know how to thank the volunteering done by everyone. We must also anticipate as many things as possible so that everything goes well. »

However, the president of Interfolk must face increasing difficulties at the administrative level. “We are asked to be more and more professional even though we are volunteers,” laments Maryline Mourgues. These demands force the festival to rely on members with very specific skills. But being responsible for the association also means moments of joy and pride. “The greatest satisfaction is seeing the public happy, the volunteers happy and that the image of the festival remains good,” recognizes Maryline Mourgues.

Pierrick Lescop

The most memorable memories of the last two presidents

Between them, they represent half the life of the Interfolk festival. Maryline Mourgues and Gérard Chalendard experienced unforgettable moments in the company of groups from all over the world who came to Haute-Loire.

What is your most memorable memory during your respective mandates? After a few seconds of reflection, the images come back and the anecdotes with them. Gérard Chalendard goes first. “An Iranian group, as we were leaving, gathered around me to sing. I couldn’t hold back my tears. Another time I invited a group of Australian Aborigines to my house. By the time they went to get glasses for the champagne, they had started drinking from the bottle. We had a great laugh that evening! » Without forgetting this day when artists from the Marquesas Islands performed a haka. “I felt very small in front of these colossi! »

Privileged moments with certain groups are also what comes to mind of Maryline Mourgues. “A group from South Africa dreamed of singing at the cathedral. After negotiations, we managed to obtain the right to organize this. As a thank you, I was treated to an individual song. »

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