Postponement of the 3rd edition of the Tattoo Festival

It is with extreme regret and sadness that I have to announce the postponement of the 3rd Tattoo Festival.

The first two gatherings proved to be a roaring success, even despite the event’s distance from major cities and the unpredictable weather conditions – none of us will forget the orange alert announced during the 2nd Cantal In’k in a hurry!

I have taken this regrettable decision after a month of careful deliberation because of issues with logistics, safety regulations, partners and budget. In the name of transparency, and on behalf of the whole team, I would like to share with all of you who have shown such commitment and support for Cantal In’k the reasons behind this decision.

Logistical difficulties

One of the key reasons we have had to postpone the 3rd instalment of Cantal In’k is logistics: there is a severe lack of space at the site.

The Tattoo Festival has been a victim of its own success. Lack of space has become a real concern, both in terms of welcoming visitors and providing stands for the many tattoo artists who require one.

We thought we had found the solution in trying to acquire the private school building in Chaudes-Aigues to use as an outer limit and an entrance to the festival. It was the perfect solution that would have put an end to our logistical problems.

We made an offer to the bishop who was in possession of the school, and this was initially accepted. But, to cut a long story short, the school was eventually sold to someone else even though we put in a higher bid.

This means that we can no longer grow the festival without compromising on quality. There is no way we would want to risk disappointing festival-goers. At the very least, we want to make sure the next event is as good as the first two.

Safety is a priority for the Tattoo Festival

Another element that worked against Cantal In’k 2015 was safety. Everything was fine up to and including the 2nd edition, but to ensure that we stick scrupulously to safety regulations, we would have to increase the size of the event to be able to host all of the festival-goers at this 3rd edition. These are the rules and we are committed to complying with them in every way.

Speaking of security, I would like to mention that the 2013 and 2014 editions proceeded without incident, even though people with tattoos are often marginalised and seen as a ‘risk’ group.

It is therefore an extremely positive and valuable point to make that we have not had to explain away any disrespectful, discourteous or violent behaviour from the two previous Cantal In’k festivals. People from all walks of life have tattoos, despite it seeming to be just the margins of society.

Lack of partners

Cantal In’k has grown at a surprising and encouraging rate. But this means we can no longer manage the event by ourselves. For the 2015 edition, we needed to find more partners to support us throughout the whole wonderful process.

Unfortunately, we can’t do it on our own anymore. To put on a three-day event where people can discover tattooing in a fun environment we need help. Without it we have been forced to postpone the eagerly awaited 3rd edition.

Difficulty balancing the budget

Money makes the word go round. Unfortunately, the old adage rings true even for a small-scale event like the Tattoo Festival. I promised that I’d be honest with you and, honestly, the budget for the 2nd Cantal In’k Festival was never balanced. We were hoping to set it straight with the 3rd edition.

Although SACEM (the French society of authors, composers and music publishers) has affirmed that an event like ours boosts the regional economy of Auvergne, they are still demanding we pay a large sum of money from the first two editions. Why? For the tracks, both originals and covers, sung by the different artists invited to the festival. They are trying to take a chunk out of our already-non-existent profits.

We should point out that the vast majority of artists who play at Cantal In’k compose their own music, many of them even coming from outside of France. That is why we believe SACEM’s calculations to be not only incomprehensible, but ridiculous too. In actual fact, only one single group – Lady Pirate et ses Dollies – played covers (of American songs at that).

How can they expect us to make the event sustainable at the same time as demanding we pay a sum of money that we don’t have, to make a payment we believe is completely unjustified? They suggested hiking ticket prices. We refused.

Chaudes-Aigues and the Festival

The Chaudes-Aigues local authority is also facing budgetary constraints. This affects transportation for festival-goers: the shuttles carrying people from the car parks to the village were put on by the local authority as part of our partnership with them, agreed under former mayor Madeleine Baumgartner. However, it now seems that Chaudes-Aigues will not be able to run these shuttles.

The current mayor, Mr Molines, has asked us to bear the cost of all or some of the shuttles, which we are unfortunately unable to do. This transportation is absolutely vital, as we do not have capacity to park thousands of cars in the village. We want festival-goers and the local people to be able to move around our lovely village safely, without the inconvenience of so many cars. In the two previous years, these shuttles transported 22,000 people to the village, generating more than €1,200,000 for Chaudes-Aigues.

A possible solution: moving the event

Given the reasons stated above, we thought about changing the setup of the festival, or changing location (to Clermont-Ferrand for instance). But the whole project came into being in Chaudes-Aigues, for Chaudes-Aigues. We would feel we were betraying the event’s history by moving it; it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere other than in this small village in Cantal.

Perhaps another chapter in the story could take place elsewhere – a slightly different project still keeping the Cantal In’k spirit alive…

The situation as it stands and a big thank you

It’s the start of the year and so it’s time to take stock. In this little village of 900 inhabitants, we welcomed a total of 22,000 visitors over the two years, all of them curious to discover, or rediscover, the art of tattooing and the village of Chaudes-Aigues. We are more than a little proud.

The media exposure and revenue brought to the village by the festival were phenomenal. All the relevant stakeholders must therefore take responsibility for the postponement of the 3rd edition of Cantal In’k for an, as yet, undefined period.


The Tattoo Festival has been a great adventure that has consumed and shaped us for almost four years. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all the tattoo artists who came from the four corners of the globe to this little village in France. I would also like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all of the French tattoo artists who spread the word about the festival and came in such large numbers to man a stand or just to visit.

A big thank you also goes out to our volunteers, partners, friends and family for their precious aid and the time they have devoted. The same goes for the people of Chaudes-Aigues for believing in the project and giving everyone such a warm welcome. Last but not least, I would like to thank the people who brought this event, this family gathering, to life by being present: the festival-goers.

Stéphane Chaudesaigues

Tattoo Festival founder


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