Big Brocante this weekend, “Hairspray” musical next week, 1st night Luna Classics a success

It’s the annual big Brocante this  Saturday and Sunday in Nyon and it’s also the Fête des Pirates! Take a free trip on the lake on the piarate’s Nyolue boat! Stands, food and fun. Details here Note it is also the last few days of the open air cinema in Nyon. The film showing tonight Friday 22nd August is “The Giver” starring Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. Details here Pirates On the 29th -31st August the Really Youthful Group’s production of “Hairspray” will be performed in Nyon. “Hairspray” is a social commentary on the injustices of American society in the 1960s. Plump teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on a local TV dance programme. When our unlikely heroine wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity  overnight and meets a colourful array of characters. She then  launches a campaign  to  break down the rules of segregation in force in American society at that time. At the heart of the struggle for civil rights is a black family who play a central role in the story and sing one of its most famous songs. Traditionally, Tracy’s mother, Edna Turnblad, is portrayed by a male actor.

The Broadway production won eight Tony Awards in 2003 and  ran for  over 2,500  performances.  In 2007 it was adapted as a musical film, starring Zac Efron and Michelle  Pfeifer, and in 2010 commenced a successful run on London’s West End. The  production is acted and directed entirely by the GAOS Really Youthful Group. More details here


 The first night of Luna Classics saw almost a full house to hear pianist Nelson Goerner, and clarinettist and conductor Paul Meyer, perform under the big Luna tent in Nyon. Founder and director of the festival Hazeline Van Swaay Hoog, began the evening by thanking the town of Nyon for agreeing to host the prestigious festival. She also remarked that even though there had been a few teething problems (getting the whole event set up in the transition between St Prex and Nyon), she felt they had pulled it off and she was looking forward to the next 12 days of music, dance and theatre.  See here for the full programme and for ticket details.

Helpful tip for those going to Luna Classics. It can be a little chilly towards the end of the evening under the tent, take a wrap, sweater or jacket to be comfortable. Photos below scenes form the 1st night under the tent!


 Photo above – director Hazeline Van Sway Hoog welcoming the audience IMG_4243 Paul Meyer and Pedro Franco-Lopez IMG_4251 Elisabeth Meyer – Soprano IMG_4262 Argentinian pianist, Nelson Goerner IMG_4269 IMG_4284 IMG_4295

Stage set for Luna Classics, FAR festival underway and Jval Rock Festival next week

The Luna Tent has now been installed alongside the château of Nyon and the stage is set for the start of Luna Classics, the prestigious classical music and arts festival which will run from the 19th – 31st August in the town. The opening night’s performance under the big “moon” tent will be Nelson Goerner on piano, Paul Meyer on clarinette with the Menuhin academy soloists and young talents of 2013 . There are still tickets available for some of the main events and for performances in the Temple of Nyon. Tickets for concerts in the Temple start at just 30 CHF. IMG_3751

Meanwhile, the annual festival of living arts (FAR) began in Nyon on the 13th August and continues until the 23rd at different venues around the town.  This year the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary. For the full programme see here Photo below  – FAR parade in the old town of Nyon. FAR 2014

Next week the last of the local summer music festivals, the “Jval” Open Air rock and music festival will take place on the 28, 29 and 30th of August in the lovely setting of the vineyards in Les Serraux Dessus (near Begnins). Free navettes (buses) will be provided from both Gland and Nyon to this festival,  parking at the festival is restricted and car sharing is encouraged!  See here for map and times of buses. affiche_jval_2014-212x300   A variety of acts are on the line up from the rock of Belgian band BRNS to Polar. See full programme here. Video below – Polar with ” I want your soul”

Paléo Day Five: Mud, Groove and Style

By the time the rain had stopped falling on Saturday, just in time for the beginning of the festival, the grounds were covered in the largest amount of mud since the start of the week. A mix of wet straw, wood shavings, mud and water turned the ground into a swamp with a delicate smell of stables (the award for the worst smell probably goes to the camp-site drying out, the heat making the smell absolutely unbearable).


All photos- Jonas Parson


Mud, mud, mud….

Despite the (very) muddy situation, people came prepared, arming themselves with wellies (or plastic bags tied to their shoes), others took the radical opposite of bare feet for the very satisfactory feeling of mud oozing between your toes.


Ditch the shoes!

The heavy rain having turned l’Asse into a swamp, all the car parks have been closed (this goes for Sunday too!) and most of the train stops above the festival turned into impromptu car parks, as people left their car there before taking the train down to Paléo. The trains coming down, having no extra carriages or even extra trains (they only run once an hour on the weekend, and the extra trains only run between Nyon and l’Asse) were bursting with people.

Le Muids station, unusually busy

Le Muids station, unusually busy and full of cars

If rain can some times dampen spirits, mud tends to have the opposite effect, and the mixture of mud, dry weather and general festival-related motivation made for a great vibe on the grounds. People jumped in puddles, skidded through the mud, slipped and slid up the slopes, to the great amusement of onlookers.

 From pop hearthrobs to stylish tango and hip-hop

Music-wise, their was a clear separation between the line-up of the Grande Scène and that of most of the rest of the stages. The main stage was the temple of pop and French “variété” on Saturday night, Vanessa Paradis starting off the evening, before a double serving of pop heartthrobs, Julien Doré then James Blunt. This kind of music not exactly being my cup of tea, I only saw a couple of songs from James Blunt’s concert (out of the most serious professional sense of duty), who played in front of a giant screen with animations directly linked to his songs, incorporating lyrics of the songs as they were being sung (impressive visual shows seem to have become the norm with famous bands)

Some family fun despite the mud

Some family fun despite the mud

The Arches and the Détour hosted a groovier night, with a series of world-class hip-hop artists. The Coup delivered their socially and politically engaged texts with about as much class and punch as is possible. The American sextet who have been playing for the past twenty years are still just as impressive and passionate.

The traditional sunflowers have been replaced by wildflowers this year, to let the earth regenerate

The traditional sunflowers have been replaced by wildflowers this year, to let the earth regenerate

Following up at the Détour, poetess Akua Naru, American hip-hop artist who has settled down in Germany, made the whole of the tent move to her incredible cocktail of top quality jazz and energetic hip-hop. Critically acclaimed by jazz connoisseurs and the hip-hop scene since she brought out her breakthrough album out three years ago, Akua Naru delivers her message of love, justice and female empowerment with style. Dreadlocks flowing down to her waist, she engaged with the crowd, saying she reckoned the 10 hours it had taken to get to the festival (thank you traffic jams!) were worth each and every frustrating second for the amazing moment she got to share with us. “Do you realise, that right now on stage, I am a woman, and I am making hip-hop?” she called out to the crowd, before listing a list of all the women who have shaped the landscape of hip-hop, and launching into an homage to Lauryn Hill from the Fugees.

Akua Naru gave a performance reminiscent of the best 80’s hip-hop concerts, making the crowd go crazy, with the added value of a series of very good musicians for one of the best concerts of the week.


Tango awesomeness

But if one might think that more class and style would be impossible to find, the band playing at the Dôme showed that it was. Plaza Francia, the new tango project led by Catherine Ringer,ex-member of the Rita Mitsuko, in collaboration with two musicians of Gotan Project was a moment of pure magic. The sleek and racy class of Gotan Project’s special brand of tango, mixed with the utmost elegance of Catherine Ringer delighted the crowd that had flocked to see this amazing concert. Dancing to the music in an incredible red dress, the 57 year old rock icon was as stylish as ever. The band played mostly original scores, but finished the concert with cult songs from their respective repertoire, including the cult “Marcia Baila”.

Straight after the concert, the place to be was definitely l’Escale. This tiny stage situated in a tent in the Village du Monde hosts intimate sets by some of the bands scheduled under the Dôme. La Yegros, an argentinian singer who plays a amazing electro-cumbia was on after her earlier concert at 17:00. The intimate setting was perfect and the small enthusiastic crowd danced to the sexy groovy sound of La Yegros’ voice. You can find today’s program for l’Escale here.


La Yegros at L’escale

IMG_2899 IMG_2888

Migrant music

Che Sudaka, a band of argentinian ad columbian musicians based in Barcelona, where they started off as illegal migrants and street musicians, were the next band to rock the Dôme. Their electrifying mix of ska, punk and cumbia delighted the crazed crowd, their energy and joy communicating with everybody under the tent. In between messages of solidarity with the Palestinian people and migrants all over the world (they have great parody of Sting’s Englishman In New York about illegal migrants), the quartet jumped up and down with their guitars and accordion (quite an impressive feat actually), before one of the singers sang an entire song whilst crowd surfing. If you want to check their crazy show, they are playing again on Sunday at 16:00!

Finishing the night with a DJ set at les Arches has become a tradition at Paléo, and the French Monsieur Oizo was responsible for some serious body-shaking as people moved as one large, rather muddy entity.

Paléo- Prodigy-ous amounts of rain

Friday’s line-up was a perfect example of Paléo’s eclecticism and tendency towards pleasing various tastes. The main stage saw a trio of explosive and chaotic punk-rock bands deliver their crazy show, starting with the French Skip The Use and Shaka Ponk, before The Prodigy. At Les Arches on the other hand, the crowd was a few generations older, as Maxime Le Forestier and Bernard Lavilliers sang all of their old classics.


A flowery sculputure in the Off Festival- All photos Jonas Parson


The first concert of the evening was-according to this Living In Nyon reporter- the best concert of the year. Musical geniuses and incidentally brothers and sisters, Les Ogres de Barback enchanted the crowd at Les Arches with their amazing mix of touching lyrics (written by Freddo, the singer) and beautiful music. Celebrating the 20th year of the band this year – when they started, the twin sisters were 16 years old, playing in venues they were technically not allowed into- they decided to bring along some of their friends, the Fanfare Eyonlé, a brass band from Benin. Most of their songs were rearranged to be played with 10 African musicians, and the additional oomph was great. It is always a great pleasure to see Les Ogres, as they really look like they’re happy to be here with the crowd, sharing a moment of musical bliss and joyous dancing. They finished the concert in style, coming down from the stage and playing acoustically through the whole crowd before disappearing down a side-entrance.

Just as the concert finished and the crowd started drifting apart, it started pouring with rain, taking the festival-goers by surprise. Rain at Paléo always makes for funny sights, as you can see people running through the mud bare-chested, or huddled together under one of the tents. One of the bars became the scene of an impromptu concert, as one of the troupes from La Ruche, a brass band, took refuge under the cover of the tent and played standing on the bar, for the pleasure of the dozens of bedraggled onlookers. The morale was high, the rain failing to dampen the spirits.

Skip The Use did most of their concert in the rain, but the die-hard fans and intrepid festival-goers stayed and pogoed despite the apocalyptic weather. The band’s high-voltage music made it impossible to stay still in front of their enthusiasm. They finished with a reference to the political situation in France, chanting”La jeunesse emmerde le Front National”, the crowd following with passion.


A family of street artists, one of the many performances you might glimps across the grounds

Later on on the main stage, Shaka Ponk’s outrageous show rocked the Asse, as the extravagant singer played with the crowd and made everyone forget the shitty weather. Their delirious mix of punk, electro, pop and rock was accompanied by an impressive visual show. This is another band that the Front National dislikes, calling their music “degenerate”. All in all, I agree with that labelling. But what’s the problem with that, right?

Meanwhile, Fills Monkey delivered their weel-crafted mix of comedy and impressive drumming skills. The two members of the band are both professional drummers, and their show is really impressive. You can see them again tonight (Saturday, 21:30) at the Détour.

After the warm-up, it was time for The Prodigy on the main stage. It was packed, and people were jumping around to the onslaught of sound from the cult band. Pogoing in front of the main stage is part of the Paléo experience, and I would not have missed it for the world. It is always a very interesting place to be, and it is nice to see people show solidarity with one another, picking each other up, or creating a space to help someone try and find their glasses (they did, and in one piece however improbable that seems).

Mustering the remaining energy left over from Prodigy, part of the crowd headed to Les Arches, to check out Carbon Airways. A brother and a sister from France, these two kids (they are 17 and 18 years old!) do an amazing trashy electro, electrifying the crowd with their powerful music. Curious at first, I was very quickly impressed by the show, both of them completely at ease and exploding with energy on stage.

Paléo doesn’t necessarily finish after the last concert, and the camp-site is a good place to continue partying until dawn. A group of punks had brought a guitar and drum-set, and played through a good part of the night, finishing things off in beauty, with an authentic punk feel.

If you want to see what’s going on at anytime of the festival but can’t be bothered to get off your couch (especially with this weather), Paleo has installed a webcam with a live feed on the main stage. (You can currently enjoy watching a few wet volunteers run through the rain to get to shelter)

Due to Yesterday’s heavy rain, ALL the car-parks are closed today. The cars will be redirected to Nyon, where buses will take everyone up to the grounds.



Paléo Day Two- Let’s dance with Stromae!

Wednesday night was probably the most sought after night this year, with Belgian pop phenomenon Stromae finishing the evening on the main stage. All the tickets for the night sold out in a record 8 minutes in April. Paléo boss Daniel Rossellat said they could easily have sold another 25’000 tickets that day and the remaining 1,500 that went on sale at 9:00 Wednesday morning sold out in a another record-breaking 2 minutes, with more than 15,000 people desperately trying to log in to the site.

Paleo's very own "Nyon Eye"

Paleo’s very own “Nyon Eye”- All photos Jonas Parson

The weather continued on its streak of greyishness with no rain, the grounds slowly drying up (and it is set to stay this way for the next few days). Spirits were high on this second night, everyone eagerly anticipating Stromae’s catchy hits. But Wednesday was not a one-hit act, and the line-up was again varied and incredible. Adieu Gary Cooper, a Swiss garage folk band whose music is heavily influenced by the gritty music of the west-coast,but who sing in French, started the evening with just enough style and grit, with some haunting riffs on the lap steel guitar.


At the Dôme, Meridian Brothers -one of my favourites from Tuesday night were playing again, and it was a pleasure to delve even deeper into their complex tunes. Needless to say that I was also present later on for a second helping of La Chiva Gantiva’s boisterous tunes. IMG_2614

Before the young Stromae, and his crowd of even younger fans gathered in front of the main stage, it was time for blues legend Seasick Steve, who brought with him some of the sun of his native Tennessee. Living In Nyon managed to catch up with the 70 year old musician after his concert, read about it here.

Seasick Steve invited a young girl on stage to sing her a love serenade

Seasick Steve invited a young girl on stage to sing her a love serenade

Paléo isn’t all about the music, and one of the charms of the festival is its amazing street performers. Whether you see them performing through the grounds, such as this very special string trio, who play on custom made instruments. Shy yet mischievous, they play their way through the crowd, stopping to give some lucky soul a private concert. A variety of different artists can be seen across the grounds throughout the week, so keep an eye out for a magical encounter!


But the real magic goes on at La Ruche, where the circus and street theatre takes place. This year, la Cie 2Rien Merci is back with a beautiful and poetic love declaration to the magic lantern and its first uses in fair grounds. The show, that goes on for about an hour, takes you through different installations, plunging you in the wacky and rusty universe of 2 Rien Merci, one of the best street theatre collectives that I know of. I won’t tell you more about the show, so as to leave the magic of the discovery, but note that as it takes place partly in a small caravan, the seats are limited- tickets are handed out 10 minutes before each show, which take place about 5 times a day, so if you want to see the show, make sure to get there in time!


 Reggae at Les Arches

The night had a roots tinge to it, with Naâman playing earlier in the evening at Les Arches. This young musician from Normandie is one of the rising stars of the roots reggae scene in France. Once you get over the irritation caused by a young white French guy trying to sing in Jamaican patois, and saying “Jah” every other word, the music is actually really great, and he communicated his energy with the crowd. Later on, Ky-Mani Marley, a member of the great Marley tribe was on on the same stage. His hybrid mix of reggae, electro and hip-hop pleased the crowd, everyone moving their body to the reggae-man’s riddims.

 “Alors l’Asse dance”

Coming up to 11:30, everybody started drifting towards the Grande Scène for Stromae, including a lot of family with kids. Anticipating the high demand for this concert, additional screens had been set up to let everybody enjoy the concert. Intent on getting to the middle of the crowd, I engaged in one of the national Paléo sports, weaving through the crowd to get to the right spot. AN interesting fact about big crowds, is that although the edges seem packed out, and it looks like there is no way to get in, once you get yourself past the first few meters, the crowd loosens up, giving you more space, a better spot for the concert, and usually slightly less cross people (there is something about people who make a fuss about being touched in the middle of a crowd which always confounds me)

Kids having some fun before Stromae

Kids having some fun before Stromae

Stromae delivered a memorable concert, in front of a amazing crowd, who danced and sang along with him. Full of energy, he delivered some of his finest dance moves, dressed in the geek-chic outfits he is known for. The music was accompanied by an impressive visual show on a huge screen behind him, whether it was a squadron of dancing men mimicking Stromae’s choreographies, or rather disturbing insect legs crawling across the screen, covering it up with darkness during the song about cancer, making for a really intense moment. Really humble and chatty, the Belgian pop star thanked the crowd for being “so many, so fast”, before going off on a rant about “frites” being called French fries instead of Belgian fries in English an outrage he compared to calling Lake Leman “Lake Geneva”, or saying that wine was a Belgian drink.

His first big hit “Alors on Dance” had everyone dancing to series of sample from 90’s disco music, and he pleased the crowd with all the favourites, from his song on gender stereotypes “Tous les mêmes” to his touching tribute to Cesaria Evoria. He finished his concert by thanking his entire crew individually, before a last a capella version of “Tous les mêmes”, for the greatest pleasure of the crowd.

Remember you can watch some concerts live via the website, as well as check some full concerts and “best-of”s of the night before here.