The FISE is more than just an event: it’s over 25 competitions that bring together the most popular action sports: skateboard, BMX, mountain bike, wakeboard, inline skate, etc. Over the years, the contests gained international notoriety and have become staples of the action sport contest calendar.
In order to truly understand the enthusiasm the FISE creates amongst the extreme community, let’s go back to its very beginnings. It all started in 1997 when Hervé André-Benoit, then a Business student in Montpellier, was pondering over his end-of-year project, and decided to use his passion for action sports and create a solid project. He then organized the first ever FISE with very limited resources, attracting nonetheless 100 riders and 35 000 spectators over 3 days, in Palavas, France.
“I used to spend hours in my room, at my parent’s place, with a fax machine, trying to find sponsors”, the FISE founder remembers, amused (quote taken from an interview in the newspaper Le Monde). Starting in 2003, the FISE started to spread its wings on the international level, with editions in Dubai, Kuwait, Costa Rica, China, Malaysia, on top of developing a French tour, the FISE Xperience, that counts many dates throughout the year. The Monpellier event is still nowadays the epicenter of the phenomenon; the Festival now attracts over 500 000 people over the 5 days and arouses interest of prestigious sponsors. But one thing hasn’t and will never change: the vibe. The event is thought for the riders, and includes open competition formats for amateurs, juniors and women. The main goal of the FISE Association is to promote extreme and alternative sports and therefore, the event have never lost one very interesting aspect for spectators: they are free to attend.
FISE Montpellier launches its first FMX Show at the Park&Suites Arena – On that same edition, FISE Montpellier also beat a new record with more than 500.000 participants. The event is broadcasted in 50 countries and counts 2000 hours of retransmission on international channels. It is also the beginning of a new international tour; the FISE World Series, whose Montpellier is the first stage (will follow Andorra, China, and Malaisya).
- FISE Montpellier welcomes two new disciplines; Street BMX and Scooter.
- Two contests has particularly retained the attention during the Montpellier FISE World Series 2012; Dirt BMX Dirt and Spine Ramp BMX. New sports are also present; such as the sackline discipline.
- FISE celebrates its 15th birthday on the Banks of the Lez with its new partner SFR, which also supports the FISE XPERIENCE Tour. FISE Events weight more than ever within the action sport community.
- Skateboarding is back in the game, and the mountain bike Slopestyle contest of FISE Montpellier becomes a stage of the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour.
- In a tricky context of economic crisis, FISE Montpellier achieves to succeed once again, thanks to the support of the region Languedoc-Roussillon as well as private partners such as FIAT, ORANGE and MONSTER. From now on, FISE Montpellier shall annually take place on the banks of the Lez during the bank holidays of the Ascension. This year is also the beginning of a new concept of events organised in ski resorts; the WINTER FISE, whose the first stage is Peyragudes (Hautes Pyrenees). The tour FISE XPERIENCE evolves and reaches cities all over France from April to October.
- It is a renewal time for the FISE, that has lost its main sponsor, Nokia. A new alliance is agreed with Fiat, and the Fiat Freestyle Team is well noticed in the following sports : Snowboarding, Freestyle skiing, Skateboarding and BMX. The FISE Montpellier takes place once again in the centre of Montpellier, welcoming more than 300 000 spectators over the five days of the event. FISE Xperience, the 100% freestyle French Tour including six stages, keeps gaining in popularity.
- For the first time of its history, the FISE Montpellier's new venue is located in the heart of the city, on the Lez riverside.Beside this genuine involvement, the concept also expands everywhere in France, under the label 'Nokia FISE Xperience'; FISE Events are organised in Brittany (Grandchamps), Maritim Alps, (Auron), Rennes, Valence, Mandelieu La Napoule, Marseille, and La Plagne !
- On the 25th and 26th of February, the FISE team drives to French Brittany (in Grand Champs) in order to organize a contest and to allow Bretons to discover riders performing on a street park area that is worthy of the greatest contests. The Noka FISE celebrates its tenth anniversary in the Rock area in Grammont ! The show was performed by an exceptional line-up, with international artists and performers, such as Barrington Levy, Sinsemilia, Les Wampas, Hextatic, Herbaliser...
- The Nokia FISE welcomes three more essential sports : wakeboarding, snowboarding/ski, and motocross. At the end of July takes place the Audi FMX show in Beirut (Lebanon). In August, the FISE keeps getting popular abroad, in Algeria and in Tunisia, with the creation of Tunisia FISE.
- Association FISE goes deeper in its international strategy with new editions taking place in Algeria, Tunisia, and Kuwait.
- FISE Montpellier' seventh edition welcomes 250 000 spectators, and the concept becomes international with events taking place in Dubaï, in Hammamet and in Djerba. In December 2003, the expertise of Association FISE and FISE AREA is sought to organise and provides the structures of an external event: the Mountain Dew Extrem Challenge of Oman.
- The Nokia FISE becomes an essential festival for sport and music. The event really takes off and welcomes, for this sixth edition, more than 1 000 riders et 200 000 spectators, reinforcing its position as the first European action sport event.
- The festival changes its name to become the Nokia FISE.
- The festival keeps on growing, the street park is improved and new units are created. The best international riders are there and the spectators did not miss a scrap of the show.
- The third FISE Montpellier's new challenge : building its own Street Park area for the organisation of its contests. Designed by and for riders, it meets a great success, and the Festival begins to play in the major league of the main European events.
- The show goes on and new sponsors get on board. Two new disciplines enter the stage : Street and Kiteboard.
- Hervé André-Benoit was still a student at Montpellier's Business school when he got the great idea to organise an international action sports festival as part of his study project. This First edition of the Festival International des Sports Extrêmes is well noticed in the world of alternative sports as it achieves to gather nearly 100 riders and around 35 000 spectators over 3 days.