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”

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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”.

Festival dates for 2014, Roadworks in Nyon centre for 5 months, plus other news.

Here is a handy list of dates of the five main festivals taking place in the Nyon area in 2014. The season kicks off with the winter mini rock festival Les Hivernales, followed in April by the documentary film festival Visions du Réel.

Caribana, the first of the summer festivals takes place in June, (note: the band Queens of the Stone Age will be playing at this festival on Thursday 5 June). Paléo, the major rock festival in town is in July and the line up will be announced on Tuesday 1st April. The festival season finishes with FAR, the festival of living arts.

Dates for diary

Roadworks near railway bridge in Nyon. There will be roadworks in the centre of Nyon beginning  Monday 13th January lasting for approximately five months. These roadworks will be near the roundabout under Nyon railway bridge.  These roadworks are part of a long  term project to improve traffic flow and to help users of the public transport system (particularly the bus network). Some roads will be closed off to cars and some bus stops will move to a different place. See map below of the new changes. More details can be found on the Nyon council site .


 Decision on show with controversial performer to be made next week.

The decision to on whether to let Dieudonné, the French stand up comedian perform in Nyon at the Théâtre de Marens will be taken by Nyon council next week. The performer is scheduled to perform here from the 3rd to the 5th February. Dieudonné’s shows have recently been cancelled in France (see article in the Independent newspaper here) having being labelled as ‘antisemitic’ and at the moment Nyon is one of the remaining venues still scheduled on the performer’s itinerary. In the light of  possible public disorder, and the show attracting demonstrations from various protest groups, the council will announce their decision on the situation on Tuesday.

Paléo ends with a storm after cooking up a storm of music all week

On Sunday afternoon at 15:00 during the last press conference of Paléo 2013, the storm clouds were already beginning to gather over the L’Asse grounds. A massive storm then arrived a couple of hours later just after the last violinist had played the last note and clarinettist Paul Meyer had taken a bow at the classical music concert which is a Sunday tradition at the festival. The  heavens then opened. Everyone ran to shelter to escape the strong winds, rain and hail.

Classical music concert

This particular storm had been predicted over a week ago and Paléo was prepared. This was in contrast to the sudden and unexpected storm on Tuesday night in which  the festival organisers were only given 30 minutes warning. Nevertheless, despite the obvious difficulties of  the disruption to public transport on Tuesday, and the subsequent cancellation to the final concert of that evening, Paléo has announced that this has been another successful year.

Storm warning


Paleo in the rain

The New Arches stage. 

The installation of the new Les Arches stage worked well, and the feedback from the public was good. The bigger stage meant that smaller groups could have the chance to reach a wider audience. There were a couple of issues with sound at one or two of the concerts, and a few teething troubles with the circulation of the public between the stage and other areas. They felt that perhaps because of this big new stage, the Detour tent tended to get forgotten so perhaps this area needs to form its own identity a bit more, but the organisers were, on the whole, happy with the new Les Arches.

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Photo above: A Paléo crowd listening to Paul Meyer and Le Concert Européen in front of Les Arches, the new Paléo stage

Music selection

Jacques Monnier, Paléos music  programmer (you can read more about him in French in a Swiss Info interview here), announced that the big headline acts this year had been very successful. Neil Young (particularly when he played “Like a Hurricane” through  the Tuesday storm!) Dizzie Rascal, Blur, Smashing Pumpkins, Arctic Monkeys and Nick Cave were well received. Also generating a lot of buzz were acts such as the “Bloody Beetroots” concert who played late on Thursday night, along with the concert of Makoomba who played in the Dome and also Les Tambours du Burundi with their electrifying drumming.

Jacques Monnier

Photo above: Jacques Monnier – Music Programmer of Paléo

Keeping the balance of music right to suit all generations was important to Paléo. Daniel Rossellat explained that the dates of other music festivals in Europe usually coincided with the end of school or university, so the age profile of festival attendees tended to be younger, but as many Paléo lovers have  grown up with the festival and faithfully return each year, their music tastes change as they grow older. Rossellat also pointed out that when visitors come from other festivals to Paléo they are astonished at the relaxed ambiance (mainly due to the thousand of volunteers who work there) and that there are sit down restaurants at the festival with a wide choice of food on offer.

The Weather at Paléo 2013

The subject on everyone’s lips this year at Paléo was of course the weather which ranged from tropical heat to tropical storms. Not only was it a talking point amongst the public but also amongst the local police who witnessed some amazing scenes on Tuesday night as they directed  fans back to their cars and onto the public transport. Apparently many fans got so completely soaked they stripped off all their wet clothes down to their underwear to head off  home, so there were interesting sights to be had!

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Photo above: Cooling off at the Swisscom water spray

There will be a selection of images of the bands and the sights and sounds of  Paléo 2013 posted on this site over the next couple of days. We hope you have enjoyed the Living in Nyon coverage and in particular, the articles written by Jonas, our resident writer at Paléo.

Next year Paléo will be from 22nd to 27th July 2014, the line up will be on April 1st and tickets on sale from the 9th April.