The facts and figures of Paléo are impressive. This year’s tally is not in yet, but last year’s festival (for example) involved 1,423 musicians and technicians, there were 296 shows on six stages and 4,673 volunteers worked at the festival, all in an area of 84 hectares (including the camping and parking). 215 stall holders and 53 bars were on site and 1,335,000 washable cups had been produced by Paléo since 2009. 23% of the spectators had come from the Nyon area and 49% of the public had already taken part in more than 5 editions of the festival.
Many Paléo fans attend each night such is their love of this festival. However, yesterday – day 5, loyalty was obviously tested for some, with all the on site car parks closed, buses and trains packed en route to the festival and the grounds very muddy in places. It wasn’t exactly the best start to the sixth night of Paléo – even the Living in Nyon editor wondered if she had the energy to walk and squelch round all the acres and music stages one more time. However, you only need to hear the first riff of a guitar playing on a stage somewhere, the bass of a drum and the cheer of the crowd as it applauds an artist, and you are hooked all over again.
The Coup in Concert
The Les Arches stage began with an early concert of “The Coup”, a punk/ hip hop band from the U.S.A. Billed as a group which mixes elements of “The Clash” with “Sly and the Family Stone”, lead singer “Boots Riley” hit the ground running as soon he came on stage. Unfortunately, the grounds at this time (around 18:00) were only half full, probably due to the transport problems. Nevertheless Riley warmed up the crowd early on by shouting out “You haven’t been to a “The Coup” concert unless you have danced” and the audience responded with enthusiasm.
“The Coup” is well known and has been criticised for its lyrics, lyrics that often mock American politics, lampoon capitalism and other issues that concern them. Half way through the set Riley asked for an interpreter to come on stage to to translate a message into French for the audience. He wanted to make sure that they were aware about what was going on in Gaza and Palestine and he urged the audience not to look away from the issues. There was a slight irony to this statement – it was highly probable that many of the audience did know about the issues, with the U.N.C.H.R, the U.N and the head quarters of the Red Cross just down the road in the Geneva – plenty of the crowd probably knew someone who worked in a humanitarian related field.
There was also another slight irony to the concert – after having mocked capitalism, Riley came off stage and attempted to sell a “The Coup” T shirt to someone in the crowd. Asking about the rate of exchange of the Euro to the Swiss Franc and taking money from a member of the audience didn’t quite ring with his anti-capitalist message. Nevertheless, Riley himself is a charismatic, energetic performer and a born front man.
For this festival-goer though it was “Silk-E” the female vocalist with the group who really stole the show with her energetic dancing, and powerful soulful voice. She engaged the audience just as much as Riley and there were plenty of whoops and shouts at some of her antics.
She always rewarded them with a stunning smile after each song, something that was missing from Riley’s stage performance, an acknowledgement for the crowd’s presence and for them trekking though the mud to get there would have been nice instead of him repeating endlessly that they were from Oakland California (we knew that). Still, it was an engaging show and bravo to the Paléo programmers for bringing them to the L’Asse grounds.
Theatre in La Ruche
The theatre show that took place in La Ruche area of the grounds later on was a complete contrast. This was a funny, witty performance made for both parents and children and is worth watching, and even if you don’t understand much French, a lot of the acting and antics is self-explanatory. Note – Beware of talking on your mobile phone while the show is on! A member of the crowd was in full conversation on the phone and the lead actor took the phone from him and began to chat with the other person on the end of the line to the audience’s great amusement!
A contrast again was the Plaza Francia concert that took place later in the Dome. Here the audience were transported to the streets of Argentina with a mixture of tango rock and French romanticism. Eduardo Makaroff and Swiss Christophe Muller (both members of Gotan Project) have teamed up with French singer and musician Catherine Ringer and other musicians, to create a wonderful sound – a mixture of tango and pop music. This concert was sexy, sensational and the crowd responded in kind with loud applause and demand for encore after encore.
Tonight’s line up (Sunday 27 July) includes performances from Yousso NDour, The National, Tweek (a band from Nyon!) Classical music at 17:30, fireworks at 23:30 followed by headlining band Placebo. See Paléo for full line up.