Paléo festival ends on a high note

The Compagnie Carabosse lit up the sky with a pyrotechnic display Keystone

The 30th Paléo music festival has ended in the western Swiss town of Nyon with a record 220,000 visitors to the six-day event.

This content was published on July 25, 2005 - 10:11

Paléo, one of the biggest open-air festivals in Europe, organised about 100 concerts on six stages, which were held in mainly favourable weather conditions.

"This was the most successful Paléo to date," said festival organiser Daniel Rossellat on Sunday.

Although there were fewer really big names from rock and pop than in previous years, the festival had been a sell-out for weeks.

The 210,000 tickets sold in advance, of which 10,000 were for children, all went in 11 days.

Ravi Shankar

About 35,000 people turned up every day to watch performances by such stars as Rammstein, Lenny Kravitz, the Compagnie Carabosse and the veteran Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar.

In one of the most memorable concerts this year, Shankar and his daughter Anoushka performed on the main stage in front of 20,000 people in an almost religious atmosphere.

There was a special place for French songs at this year’s event, with concerts by Vincent Delerm, Bernard Lavilliers, Juliette and Calogero.

Seventy-year-old Hugues Aufray had a huge success with his concert, managing to unite both the young and the not so young with his songs of love, friendship and melancholy.

French pop music had the final word at the Paléo on Sunday with a concert from Kyo.

Special atmosphere

Festival-goers to Nyon always speak of a special atmosphere at the Paléo. They say that no other open-air event has such a mix, ranging from French songs, rock and pop to world music.

It means that all members of the family or groups of friends can enjoy themselves with one of the acts.

Even the food gives the event a distinctive flavour, with everything from hot spicy curry, couscous or raclette on offer at the 100 stands, taking the public on a culinary journey around the world.

As far as security was concerned, there were no major incidents this year. Rossellat said there had been 27 reports of theft or other complaints.

In recent years, the festival had recorded 40-50 such complaints, whereas at the beginning of the millennium a record 130 incidents had been reported.


Elsewhere in Switzerland, the opera festival in Avenches ended on Saturday. About 46,000 spectators watched the eight concerts of Verdi’s Nabucco in the town’s Roman arena.

Several performances were played in front of a full-capacity arena, with only one interrupted by rain.

The organisers said that as a result the festival made a small profit.

About 27,000 fans turned up at the Live at Sunset event in Zurich, with eight of the ten concerts sold out. Joe Cocker and Diana Ross were the big names there.

Performances from "oldies" including Iggy Pop, Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Jimmy Cliff and Al Jarreau were the highlights at the opening weekend of the Blue Balls Festival in Lucerne.

And in Valais, the fourth alp horn festival attracted 6,000 spectators on Saturday and Sunday in the resort of Nendaz, with 114 musicians taking part.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Paléo festival:

220,000 spectators
35,000 on each of the six days
3,700 voluntary staff
120 concerts
6 stages
More than 1,300 artists and technicians
100 food stands

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In brief

Over the past 30 years, the Paléo festival of Nyon has become Switzerland’s largest open-air festival and one of the most important summer events in Europe.

When it first started in 1976, the event was called the First Folk Festival, before becoming the Nyon Folk Festival from 1977 to 1985.

In 1986, it was renamed Paléo after a successful race horse.

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