Jean-Pierre Pichard

Author : Erwan Chartier / February 2024

Born in September 1945, Jean-Pierre Pichard is one of the major historical figures of Lorient’s Interceltic Music Festival. As well as being a great endorser of Celtic music, his knowledge on the subject was second to none. As a student he became the penn-soner for Rennes' Kevrenn, and the group became Brittany’s bagadoù champions in 1969 under his leadership. He also studied in Scotland, where he learnt about pipe-band music, all the while expanding his interceltic dreams.

At the start of the 1970s, he was given the role of Secretary General for Bodadeg ar sonerion. In 1971, the bagadoù federation decided to transfer its competition from Brest to Lorient. Together with local businessman Pierrot Guergadic he transformed the Interceltic Music Festival into the hugely successful event it is today. He was the festival’s director from 1972 to 2007 and under his watch it expanded, notably via the inclusion of the Asturian and Galician regions into the programme, as well as other Celtic diasporas around the world. With a substantial media network at his disposal in Paris, Jean-Pierre Pichard was also responsible for big events such as the Nuits Celtiques at the Stade de France, and Breizh Touch on the Champs-Elysées.

An unstoppable force of nature, he continued to keep a watchful eye over the Interceltic Festival after his retirement in 2007. In the summer of 2021, he had in fact written a book about the event, before abruptly departing from this world on 13th August, just after the closing ceremony of the festival’s 50th year. 

Translated by Tilly O'Neill


Author : Erwan Chartier, « Jean-Pierre Pichard », Bécédia [en ligne], ISSN 2968-2576, mis en ligne le 5/02/2024.


Contributed by : Bretagne Culture Diversité