If you live in Nyon or the surrounding region you will know that this week is a very special week in the Nyon Calendar – It’s Paléo Week! Back after a two year hiatus for the 45th edition of the rock festival, there is a buzz in the air of anticipation for all that is to come.
So how did it come to pass that Paléo, now the biggest music festival in Switzerland and major open- air festival in Europe came to the town of Nyon? Well we’ll tell you…
It started out as a Folk Festival in 1976, the first one was held in the old Nyon Town Hall, with an audience of 1,800 spectators. After the success of the first one, it was then moved outdoors to Colovray down by the lakeside with just two stages. As the festival grew, it moved to its current home in the north of Nyon in Plaine de l’Asse in 1990 – with seven stages and covering 84 hectares of land!
For the 40th Edition of the festival, Paléo released a montage of films in celebration. Daniel Rossellat, President of the festival and Mayor of Nyon is seen at the beginning of the film announcing the first Folk Festival to the press in 1976!
Paléo brings in thousands of intergenerational spectators every year. Festival goers who came in their youth are now partying alongside their own children who have come of age. Some die-hard revellers are all in with their week long passes, making sure they squeeze out every last drop of the festivities. Others may be more choosy, selecting a couple of specific nights to see one of their favourite artists perform. Not to mention a massive number of the festival goers who set up camp at the campsite, known to be a festival within a festival. Paléo lasts for six days and six nights, with seven stages across 84 hectares of land including the camp site and the parking and it all ends in a massive display of fireworks before the final main stage artist on the Sunday night.
Over the years the festival has hosted iconic international musicians such as Miles Davis in 1990, James Brown, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Elton John, Robbie Williams and Iron Maiden. And this year will be no different with musical artists KISS, Sting and Stromae as part of the line-up for 2022. It is also a fantastic platform for up and coming musicians and local bands and artists to showcase their talents. Equally for us as spectators it is a great way to discover new artists as we wander through the festival in and out of the tents throughout the nights.
To give you an idea of the immensity of Paléo and how much it has grown since 1976 here are some stats!
- 44 festivals
- 3’734 singers, bands or companies
- 5’482 concerts and shows on stage
- 6’896’154 spectators
The last Paléo Festival in 2019
- 230’000 spectators over 6 days
- 1,384 musicians and technicians
- 277 shows on 7 stages including dozens of animations
- 4,890 volunteers
- 9,000 campers
- A ground of 84 hectares (including camping and parking spaces)
- 222 food stalls and 57 bars
The thousands of volunteers who come from all over each year for this special event are a big part of the festival’s success, often choosing to volunteer year after year due to the legendary experience! If volunteering sounds like something you want to be a part of take note, registrations open online at the end of April.
Not just music!
As well as the diversity of musical genres on offer, Paléo is also known for its street and circus art, food stands from all over the world. Each year the Village du Monde is dedicated to a country or region in the world where you can not only sample the music but the culture, food and drink as well. With over a hundred food stalls, a day-care centre, a children’s area and a free camping site, Paléo really caters to everyone’s needs.
Inhabited by unusual artists, La Ruche is a secret garden where the most beautiful fantasies of Circus and Street Art flourish.
Read more about La Ruche and the man behind it Patrick Chambaz in his interview with Living in Nyon here.
Inside La Ruche is a dedicated space for young children between 6 and 12 years old and families called Mielimélo. It’s open every day until 22:00 and offers a smoke and alcohol free area, away from the bands and music. There is also a space for the 12- 18 year olds called La Plage, offering entertainment and a games programme and a bar that features non-alcoholic drinks at low prices. Admission into the festival is free for children under 12.
Not only has the music made up part of Paléo’s history so to has the weather. From heatwaves to torrential rain, this year is no different with temperatures into the 30s this week.
But the show must and will go on! Welcome Back Paléo!
Read about all what’s new for Paléo 2022 here