Nearly 90,000 festival-goers are expected at this great popular festival facing the sky. Fly, without burning your wings like Icarus. Or raise your eyes to the sky to observe paragliders, deltas, microlights, paramotors, gliders…
For almost half a century, the Coupe Icare has celebrated light aviation. Valentin, 14, has been paragliding for two years, he lives very close to the Petites Roches plateau where the festival takes place, above Grenoble, in Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet, and in Lumbin, in the valley of the Grésivaudan, in Isère.
“Feeling super light, and just hovering in the air, it’s incredible, explains this buff. I just take advantage of the present moment, and suddenly I find it really incredible, we really only think about paragliding, and we are there quietly in the air.”
The Coupe Icare is above all a meeting place for enthusiasts like Valentin. It is aimed at the general public who have come to let their imagination take off. The 700 pilots expected arrive from the six corners of France but also from Brazil, China…
“There are the acrobatics pilots who jump from the helicopter, and who then do a demonstration above our heads, therefore above Saint-Hilaire, and it’s impressive. We also have a show hot air balloons all taking off at the same time, and it makes for a super beautiful sight”, continues the teenager who will follow the aerobatic demonstrations of the Patrouille de France.
The Isérois is participating this year in the flying disguise competition, Icarnaval, which today brings together more than 100 pilots. The paragliders and some hang-gliders disguise their gear, as highlighted by the coordinator of the Coupe Icare, Anne Budillon.
“So you can see fish flying, aircraft, Avatar, Frozen… It’s free and open to the pilots’ creativity, ingenuity and poetry.”
Another highlight, the Icares of cinema. The opportunity to look back on 40 years of films dedicated to free flight; the animation Icare Folies offers an artistic and musical program and street shows.
Another strong point are the activities dedicated to children, Icare Mômes. To introduce them to aerology, the science that studies the barometric and thermal phenomena of the atmosphere, or to learn all about the construction of hot air balloons.
“For the little ones, there are cardboard plane competitions, so they are the ones who will build their plane with the help of different people. Afterwards, there is a finesse competition, it is a question of making fly your plane as far as possible by launching it. Afterwards, there is the intervention of specialists who explain how the wind, wind turbines, etc. work… There are also falconers who make their birds fly between us.”
Free entry from Tuesday to Thursday, except at the cinema. The weekend pass from Friday to Sunday costs 15 euros (8 euros per day). “There’s a great atmosphere and then we can take off!”, concludes Valentin.
Coupe Icare Festival in Isère from September 20 to 25, 2022.