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So Swiss: Paléo Festival 2011

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I hope my memory serves me right. I think I told myself before that my presence at the UP Fair and at the Eraserheads reunion concert, which both occurred two years ago (in separate dates and venues, of course), would be the last straw for me to be sort of “teenspirited” and ignite the punk rock in me (despite the girly outfits I was wearing at those times).  But boy oh boy, was I wrong! Because just three months ago, I attended one of Europe’s most important musical events of the year.

It’s the Paléo Festival, baby.

Paléo 2011 – Clip de présentation par paleo

Just seeing this massive crowd makes me want to faint. Seriously.

Since 1976 – and the «First Folk Festival» that drew an audience of some 1,800 people in the town assembly rooms in Nyon –, Paléo Festival is today one of Europe’s most important musical events. Since its creation, the Festival has been growing in a regular and managed way, gaining steadily in professionalism during this period of development. Each year, more than 200 concerts and shows are on offer to the 230,000 members of the public who fill the Festival’s 84-hectare Asse site (car parks included), situated above the town of Nyon. To this day, over 5 million people have contributed to this unwavering popular success. For more than ten years, the Festival has been sold out before it even started and enjoys an ever-growing reputation. In 2011, over 600 media representatives covered an edition marked by rain and mud but in an exceptional atmosphere.

Read also The History of Paléo here.

I was no longer keen to go to Paléo when the grand appearance of Amy Winehouse on the final day of the festival, which was part of her European tour, was officially called off. A lot of her Swiss fans got angry when they heard the news. Some cried for Adele to fill in the gap. The festival program had been finalized and none of their names appeared on the list. Mika replaced Amy. What a huge sigh.

Yet a much sadder news came. Amy Winehouse was found dead, right on the day of her supposed gig at Paléo.

I guess being melodramatic over that weekend had intuitively persuaded our neighbor to sell her single day tickets, which was originally bought at 65CHF for the last day of the festival, at a discounted rate of 25CHF to us. So off I went to see what Paléo is all about.


As you go inside the vicinity you’ll start to notice these big tents where different musical performances are being held. It’s got 6 stages: Le Chapiteau (the Circus Tent), Le Club Tent  (the Club Tent), La Ruche (the Hive), Le Dôme (the Dome), Le Détour (the Detour for regional bands), and La Grande Scène (the Main Stage).

It's Yumuri y Sus Hermanos that were performing when we passed by the Le Village du Monde or World Village. It's Cuban music at its finest. Muy caliente!
It’s Yumuri y Sus Hermanos that were performing when we passed by the Le Village du Monde or World Village. It’s Cuban music at its finest. Muy caliente!

In 2003, Paléo added Le Village du Monde (the World Village) where an invited world region showcases their culture through food and music to everyone. This year it’s the Carribean!


Camélia Jordana performed at the Club Tent (I guess) and I fell in love with her throaty voice and unique timbre, especially when she sang her version of Brenda Lee’s I’m Sorry. We had too much red wine already to boot, so Leilani and I started singing along (no, whining) with the singer.

Food tripping is one of the best things you can do in this event. It’s my personal favorite, too. You go east you find Asian; or west, you find European or American. Bring enough money and you’ll never starve.


I might be in Switzerland for a long time (fine, just a year), but you can’t take away my penchant for Asian food. I was mesmerized to see a lot of Asian food stores. Unfortunately, there was no food stall that represented Pinas. There’s surprisingly one for Tibet, how’s that?

Sadly, I asked for pad thai and they gave me this. The food attendant could have told me beforehand they didn’t have any, right? We just had one night and we’re rushing a bit, so never mind. It’s tasty anyway.


This is the meal I enjoyed the most, as well as the hunks grilling this meat!


The big Swiss brands that are also the festival’s sponsors and partners had their share as well.


The people were gathering at the grand stage ground, waiting for the next performer. I read the programme, “Tout sur Jammel?”

Ah. OK. Next!


It was a good experience overall.  If only Amy performed here, Paléo Festival 2011 could have been the best.

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