Rock star Sting is all set to reopen the Bataclan in Paris a year after terrorists killed 90 people at the iconic concert hall. Around 130 people lost their lives in what was the bloodiest terror attack in France in 2015.
Several survivors will be attending the concert, which has been organised to mark the first anniversary of the terror attacks. This is the only major event taking place besides other low-key commemorations.
"The whole world is going to see the Bataclan live again," Jerome Langlet, of the venue's owners Lagardere Live Entertainment, told AFP. Tickets of the hour-long concert were sold out within minutes of going on sale on Tuesday reflecting the desire of the citizens to revive the destroyed hall.
"We had to go on after such horror and not leave a mausoleum, a tomb. Reopening the Bataclan with a ceremony and then a bit of music didn't cut the mustard for me at all," Jules Frutos, who has co-run the venue for the last 12 years, told the news agency.
Frutos added that he was adamant about organising a full-fledged rock concert high on emotion and music that was worthy of the fans who died to mark the first anniversary of the attacks that took place on November 13, 2015. The Bataclan was attacked during a concert by the US group Eagles of Death Metal.
Frutos further added that he called up Sting himself and asked him to play at the Bataclan after the singer told a journalist that he was keen to help. "His coming here is what we needed," Frutos said.
Sting said that he wanted to "celebrate the life and the music that this historic theatre represents" and promised to donate proceeds to two charities set up to help the survivors.
Several places have been reserved while families, psychologists and counsellors have been put in place to deal with those who survived the attack.
Three suicide bombers blew themselves up in November 2015 outside Stade de France while other terrorists of the Islamic State group opened fire on innocent citizens at cafe terraces and also the Bataclan, which was the worst-hit, causing the death of around 130 people in total. Gunmen shot dead rock fans one by one at the concert hall.
President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo will unveil plaques to the victims on Sunday outside the stadium, the Bataclan and the bars and restaurants that were attacked that night. Survivors, including members of Eagles of Death Metal, will also be present outside the venue on the occasion.
Nine people out of the around 400 injured are still in hospital, a year after the attack took place.
The interiors of the Bataclan, which were stained with blood, have been replaced with similar fittings, AFP reported.
"We wanted to change everything so nothing would remain of that terrible night... We decide to change everything so nothing would change," Langlet said.
Victims have asked politicians to not put their stamp on the anniversary since the elections are six months away.
"For the victims, it's their day of mourning, their day to come together," Caroline Langlade, president of the Life for Paris association told the news agency. Many tributes and gatherings have been planned to mark the anniversary in Paris.
The Bataclan will not be lit up on the day of the anniversary but will open again on Wednesday for concerts by British singer Pete Doherty, Senegalese star Youssou N'Dour and British Sixties legend Marianne Faithfull.