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Rain stops play on France's 31st fête de la musique

AFP/Frank Perry

Storms and heavy rain caused several towns to scrap open-air concerts scheduled Thursday for France’s 31st national music festival, the fête de la musique. In Bordeaux a young man disappeared, fuelling rumours of a serial killer.

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As storms crossed France on Thursday a number of towns and cities scrapped their headline concerts for the fête de la musique or moved them to indoor venues.

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Looking at gloomy weather forecasts in the morning, the eastern towns of Strasbourg, Colmar, Nancy and Belfort called of events, much to the disappointment of the 80,000 spectators expected in Alsace’s main town and thousands more elsewhere.

Quimper, Lorient and other towns in Brittany also cancelled because of the danger of high winds on the western peninsula.

Abbeville, Douai and Reims in northern France followed suit, while Lille transferred its concerts indoors.

The central city of Clermont-Ferrand informed tweeted the public to say that a concert scheduled to take place in its central square would go ahead in the B Box venue, while Bourg-en-Bresse scrapped all its open-air events.

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The sky cleared in Paris in the evening, allowing the crowds to rock on the Place Denfert-Rochereau, at the Palais Royal and many other sites.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was able to get down with the kids, shortly after announcing his reshuffled cabinet at 9pm. He made a brief appearance at a concert by electropop group Pony Pony Run Run.

The festival, which has spawned imitations in 120 countries, was dedicated to pop, deemed to have been born 50 years ago.

Tragedy struck in Bordeaux, where a man in his 30s disappeared after taking a walk along the banks of the river Garonne.

Festival-goers spotted what could have been a body in the river at about 2am and called the emergency services, who also saw the object before losing track of it.

A bag containing identity papers is reported to have been found and police have dubbed the disappearance “worrying”.

The man is the sixth young person to vanish by the side of the river in a year, leading to speculation, especially among the town's students, that a killer is on the loose.

In May security chief Pierre-Marie Bourniquel judged rumours of a “serial pusher” to be “pure fantasy”.

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