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.

Paléo kicks off with a bang-and a squelch!

Paléo kicked off with a bang and a squelch on Tuesday, with a variety of incredible bands. The right amount of mud, but thankfully without the rain that had been forecast made for the perfect Paléo atmosphere. People slipped and skidded through the mud, or picked their way carefully across the grounds, trying to stay away from the muck thanks to the large quantities of straw that had been laid down on the ground.

Everyone was able to rediscover the Festival, and some minor changes to the some of the stages, especially the Arches, whose tiered seating has been pushed to one side of the stage at an angle, leaving more room for the people who wanted to come and dance to the light rock of Girls in Hawai, the provocative and explosive Anglo-Tamil hip-hop artist M.I.A, or Gesaffelstein’s dark and compulsive beats.


Les Arches, the second open-air stage – Photo courtesy Catherine Nelson-Pollard

The first stop in the musical marathon that is a night at Paléo was Doomenfels under the Club Tent. Juggling between light, folky guitar riffs, and heavier pieces creates the perfect dense atmosphere under the tent (one of my favourite stages), as it is small enough to be intimate – the Swiss-German formation gave a musical performance that set the tone for most of the night: a continuous stream of very talented artists.

But such is the fate of the musically curious at Paléo, and it before the concert finished, it was time to make my way through the mud and (increasingly muddy) crowd to catch the first few songs of belgian pop-rock band Girls in Hawaii a regular band at Paléo, before traipsing towards the Village du Monde and it’s stage, le Dôme.

 Alcohol prevention can be fun!

Stopping on my way to there at the Blue Cross’ alcohol prevention stall, I got to do a “drunk-simulation” obstacle course wearing blurred googles, the final test being trying to fit the key in your front door’s lock. I managed rather easily – should that worry me? Anyway, their stall, situated to the right of the Ferris wheel, is full of fun facts and puns on alcohol consumption, bringing a message of prevention without being patronising about it, which is definitely much more enjoyable.

Latino Madness


La Chiva Gantiva- Photo courtesy Catherine Nelson-Pollard

La Chiva Gantiva was playing under the Dôme. Created by three Columbian percussionists when they moved to Brussels, the band mixes cumbia rhythms and grooves with more contemporary styles. Destroying stereotypes with every burst of saxophone and ever drum solo, their joyous energy was contagious, and people gradually flocked towards the stage to dance to their warm and crazy music. The musicians danced and bounced across the stage, emulated by the crowd, who quickly found it impossible to stay still in front of such an explosion of sound. The wind section (a sax and a clarinet player) entertained the crowd with their wacky dancing when they weren’t showing off their skills, the guitar player bluffed every one with his high-voltage performance, whether on the electric guitar or on a special Columbian ten-stringed guitar. My drummer friend also made me aware of the impressive skills of the drummer, making for a top-notch musical experience. I suppose the best part of all this is that La Chiva Gantiva will be playing again tonight (ie Wednesday night) at 20:00, for a second serving of musical madness.


La Chiva Gantiva- Photo courtesy Catherine Nelson-Pollard

As Bastian Baker started playing in the distance on the main stage, we decided it was time to have a bite to eat, before heading down to fetch a bottle of mead from the Ruche (where you can also find some really good honey-flavored beer) and then back up to the Dôme, for round two of Latin American musical discoveries. This time for the psychedelic tunes of Meridian Brothers, a project of Columbian musical virtuoso Eblis Alvarez. Joined on stage by a very talented drummer (kudos my friend, again), a clarinet-cum-keyboard player, and a guy behind a computer, Alvarez displayed his musical genius in a series of complex musical explorations. Relying heavily on modified sounds- the clarinet sounded like a video-game console!- the psychedelic songs were intricate creations. Meridian Brothers will also be playing again on Wednesday, at 17:15 under the Dôme, and in a more intimate setting at 21:15 at L’Escale, a small stage at the far end of the Village du Monde.


La Chiva Gantiva- Photo courtesy Catherine Nelson-Pollard

It might be starting to look obvious that I have a certain affinity with the line-up of the Dôme, and this where I was for the next band. Karamelo Santo are a ten-piece ska/cumbia/punk band from Mendoza, and got some fame from touring with Manu Chao in the 2000’s. Definitely one of the highlights of the evening, their concert was a cocktail of sun, groovy rhythms and explosive brass sonorities. The area in front of the stage quickly became a dance-floor where the more enthusiastic of the crowd joyfully bounced of each other in a chaos of jumping, dancing and general good mood. Unlike some concerts, where the pushing and shoving can get a bit nasty, everything went on really well, people picking each other up whenever someone slipped, giving them a pat on the shoulder and a grin before getting back to the dancing. The fresh evening air was most welcome after the concert, and we left the Dôme exhausted but happy.


The colourful summits of the Village du Monde- Photo courtesy Catherine Nelson-Pollard

Cult Rock and Electro vibes

Watching cult rock band The Black Keys from the back of the crowd was the perfect way of getting some energy back, the band pleasing the huge crowd massed in front of the main stage with their own strain of rock (even though my friend told me that the drummer wasn’t very good). Half way through the great concert, it was time to go and move our bodies to the trance-inducing rhythms of A Tribe Called Red, a trio of Native American beat makers from Canada, who mix electro with traditional drums and chanting. Accompanied on stage by a traditional dancer, who mesmerized the crowd with his hoola hoop skills, the trio have taken it on themselves to break the stereotypes associated to their culture, and do a hell of a job doing so.

Last but not least, Gesaffelstein finally got to send l’Asse dancing to end this first evening, after his set was cancelled last year due to the huge storm that blasted through Neil Young’s concert. A year later, he was back to do what he couldn’t do last year, and the crowd went crazy in front of Les Arches, finishing an great first night for the festival.

For all of you who don’t have the chance to have a ticket to Paléo, the Festival has organised live streaming for some of the concerts taking place through the week. You can find the schedule here. Some full concerts are also archived on the site, here, alongside highlights of each night.

Paléo – Daniel Rossellat is “philosophical about the rain”

Paleo 14

Important info for festival-goers –  Due to heavy rain many of the car-parks will be closed today (Tuesday 21 July). It is advised to take public transport to the festival.   

The following post has been written by Jonas Parson. Jonas is a student at the university of Lausanne and has been covering the Paléo festival for this site for the past four years. Here he reports from the Paléo press conference and gives us a flavour of what’s to come over the next six days.  As ever, there’s an exciting programme of music, entertainment and great food on the line up. Both Jonas and the Living in Nyon editor will be there every night to report on it all.

Paléo Press conference and what’s new up at the grounds this year –  by Jonas Parson

The rather miserable weather was on everyone’s mind at the opening press conference for the 39th edition of Paléo Festival on Monday. Daniel Rossellat, captain of the mighty ship Paléo (the weather allows cheesy water-related metaphors) addressed the difficult conditions of hosting an open-air festival when the weather is bad, thanking the brave and diligent volunteers who have been working in very difficult conditions over the past few weeks to have everything up to scratch for Tuesday at 16:00 when the first festival-goers will walk (or squelch) onto the grounds.


Courtesy- Catherine Nelson-Pollard

Sporting a pair of flashy green wellies, Rossellat explained that he preferred bad weather during the press conference and good weather during the festival rather than the other way round, saying that you “had to be philosophical about the rain”. But as most people who have come to Paléo have been at at least once before, so the mud and rain is all part of the fun during the festival- as long as we get some sun somewhere along the way!


Working in the mud…         All other photos: Jonas Parson

The Andes at the Village du Monde

Speaking of the sun, the Andes – home to the sun-worshipping Incas – are this year’s destination for the Village du Monde. This festival-in-the-festival is dedicated to a different part of the world each year, bringing a mix of traditional and contemporary culture to l’Asse. Colourful Andean summits have been installed in the village, made of an impressive 47 km of nylon string (that’s the distance between Nyon and Yverdon!). A reference to the massive mountain chain that streaks through South America, and the colourful visual identity of today’s South American bands, these constructions decorate this area where you will be able to listen to a mix of cumbia and electronic music, whilst eating an empanada or some guacamole (we will definitely be writing some more about the amazing food at Paléo later during the week!)

Despite the wet weather, the morale is high for Rossellat and his team, who have been hosting a sold-out festival for the last fifteen years. This year, the rush to the tickets beat new records, with the Wednesday night selling out in 8 minutes! Stromae will be bringing his beats and deep lyrics to make the whole of l’Asse dance, and a crowd of a younger age is expected for the concert of the Belgian phenomenon, who is very popular with young kids.


The rain hasn’t deterred campers from building some impressive structures

Paléo is all about collaboration

This year’s edition marks the tenth year of collaboration between Paleo and the HES-SO, and to celebrate they have brought a giant Ferris wheel ready to take festival-goers to new heights, and discover the grounds from the sky. A series of 70’s caravans will also showcase the student’s different projects, as each year.
Another regular collaboration, Monic La Mouche are back for the fourth year with their poetic and rugged structures, their new sculptures incorporating live plants in them.

Paléo supports associations and NGOs who do good work helping people in different ways, and this year they have decided to highlight the efforts of Terre des Hommes in Latin America, as well as the great work of ARFEC, who accompany children with cancer. Both will be on site and you can go and talk to them if their projects interest you.

Roussel Concert cancelled Tuesday

Due to injuries after falling of a stage last week, Gaetan Roussel will be unable to perform on the main stage tomorrow. His concert has been replaced by young national star Bastian Baker, who played last year at Paléo (also under the rain…).

A note on getting to the festival

Transport-wise, the Festival encourages people to use public transport to and from the site. They aim for at least half the festival goers to come by train or bus, reducing the carbon footprint of the festival, and making it all much easier and enjoyable for everyone. So if you plan on coming to Paléo, think of checking the timetables, as the trains and buses run for most of the day and night, making it a hassle-free way of getting there.(It also means you get to drink more beer or wine, if that’s what you like doing!)  This is even more important for tomorrow, as the heavy rain protocol has been put in place and many of the car-parks on site will be closed, to make sure cars do not get swamped due to the mud and rain. People coming by car will be redirected towards Nyon, and extra buses have been put in place. So if you plan on coming on Tuesday, use public transport!


Think of coming by train if you don’t want to end up like this!


Some people are ready for the worst !


Braving the rain to get a good spot in the camp-site- people were gathering two hours before the camp-site was due to open





Paléo – no April Fool – Jack Johnson, Elton John, The Black Keys and a Latin beat

Paléo Andes

Despite the local newspaper La Côte publishing an April fool today saying that Paléo was moving the whole festival over the border to Divonne in France, the bands and artists announced for the 2014 Paléo festival line up were no joke.

The Black Keys

Photo above – The Black Keys from the U.S   playing Schizophrenic blues rock – photo courtesy Paléo festival.

From Elton John to Stromae to James Blunt and The Black Keys, the full programme was released to the press with a taster of the music that will be played from the 22nd to 27th July on the L’Asse grounds, just a stone’s throw away from the centre of Nyon.

A choice of music for every generation over the six days

Never been to Paléo before? It’s one of Europe’s biggest rock and pop festivals and there is always a choice of music over the Paléo six days for every generation. There is even classical music played on the final day of the festival, and this year conductor  Gautier Capucon will direct the European Orchestra playing Rossini and Haydn.

Living in Nyon has been reviewing  the bands and artists at this festival for many years, just type in Paléo in the search button on this site to read about previous festivals.

Tickets go on sale on the 9th April at 12:00 and tickets sell out fast! Get on line or in line at the various retails outlets to secure your tickets! Details here.

Full line up here


Paleo poster 2014

This year the area of Paléo called Village du Monde features music from the Andes and the festival has invited groups and solo artists from Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Jacques Monnier, head of music programming at the festival, explained that Paléo has tried to find a balance of traditional music from the Andes region along with new and upcoming talent.

La Chiva

Above –  La Chiva Cantina  -punk fun from Colombia. Photo – Nicolas Moins Lores – courtesy Paléo

Elton John and the Black Keys are some of the many English speaking headline acts to play at Paléo including Jack Johnson, The Prodigy,  Sea Sick Steve and James Blunt.

See two YouTube videos below of  Jack Johnson singing “Upside Down” and Seasick Steve (boogie and blues) perfroming on Jools Holland  with  “Dog House”.