The 2010 Cannes Festival kicks off tomorrow in France, with organizers hopeful that the weather calms down and allows Hollywood to steal back the spotlight.

Last week, the coastal town was rocked by freak weather that sent waves up to 40-feet high crashing onto shore -- followed by gusts that flipped cars and blew sand everywhere it shouldn't be. The cleanup costs were expected to be in the millions of euros.

"The damage was considerable," said one French official last week to The Guardian, "so the festival will not proceed exactly as forecast."

Adding insult to injury, Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano decided to rejoin the party and throw yet another flight-canceling sneeze of ash into the airspace above Cannes. Execs and celebrities dealth with this by finding alternative flights and routes into the festival center, but just how much the spectre of ash will deter attendance is unknown. According to Variety, before the nature woes, one vendor was expecting an attendance drop from 2008 numbers of 30% due to the recession alone.

Nevertheless, organizers are expecting the most important players, celebrities, to be in attendance. Movies such as Robin Hood, Wall Street 2, and Fair Game are all making their premieres over the next several days; regardless of how many times Mother Nature attempts to crash the party.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Mother Nature the star attraction at Cannes
Freak storms and volcanic ash threaten to derail attendance at famous film festival.