French singer who killed girlfriend cancels festival appearances following uproar

75,000 people signed a petition for a festival to drop him from the line-up

Bertrand Cantat, a controversial French singer who killed his girlfriend a decade ago, has pulled out of all his summer festival appearances following public outcry over his booking.

Cantat – former frontman of Noir Desir – killed his girlfriend, actress Marie Trintignant, in a hotel room in in Lithuania in 2003. Trintignant suffered severe brain damage after he beat her during a fight.

The singer was sentenced to eight years in prison – of which he served four – before being released on parole in 2007.


An online petition recently demanded that Cantat be banned from France’s Papillons de Nuit festival, gaining almost 75,000 signatures. “By inviting Bertrand Cantat, you condone domestic violence and violence against women,” the petition read (translated from French).

While two other festivals dropped Cantat from their line-ups, the organisers of Papillons de Nuit – which will take place between 18-20 May in Saint-Laurent-de-Cuves, Normandy – previously said in a statement that Cantat would continue to perform, saying: “We consider that our only criteria should be artistic.”

Now, Cantat has told Agence France-Presse that he has cancelled all festival appearances “to bring an end to this controversy and end pressure on organisers”. Cantat will still play upcoming headline tour dates.

Bertrand Cantat (L), Marie Trintignant

Cantat began touring with new band Detroit in 2013, and is currently embarking on a solo venture with his debut solo album, ‘Amor Fati’.