Paléo Bucks Swiss Market

An obvious sellout long before the box office opened, Paléo Nyon Festival continues to prove that it’s seemingly immune to the pressures of a sometimes volatile Swiss market.

It’s no consolation to the organizers of Greenfield, Open Air St. Gallen and Gurtenfestival, who all saw their crowds drop from 2005 figures. But even event booker Sebastien Vuignier agreed that anyone trying to get an overall picture of the country’s outdoor season is probably best to just ignore Paléo’s figures.

It’s sold out for the last nine years, with the last five of them going well in advance.

“Apart from Montreux Jazz, it’s the most-established festival in the French part of Switzerland and the biggest outdoor, whereas most of the crowding in the market is in the German part of the country,” Vuignier explained after this year’s 31st anniversary event sold 210,000 tickets over six days and allowed 15,000 kids in free of charge.

“Our main competition should be the smaller 8,000- to 15,000-capacity festivals, and there’s at least one a week in the French area, but they all seem to be trying to book acts that could headline or be high on the bill at Montreux or Paléo and it’s driving their ticket prices too high,” he added.

With a capacity at least double the largest of them, and a history and reputation going back at least twice as far, Vuignier said Paléo can continue to deliver a strong bill and keep the ticket price very fair in comparison.

“It’s not only the ticket price. The site has always been comparatively cheap for food and beer, and perhaps – this year – we suffered less than others from the World Cup because it was over a couple of weeks before the festival started. I can see why other festivals may have had problems if they were happening at the same time.

“Even so, I still think the market overcrowding did as much damage as the football. I agree with those who say there are too many festivals.”

Among the acts helping Paléo hold its niche position among Swiss summer festivals July 18-23 were The Who, Pixies, Depeche Mode, Placebo, Louis Attaque, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Dionysus, Goldfrapp, Tracy Chapman, The Kooks, Amadou Et Mariam, Ziggy Marley, Editors, and The Rakes.

The 32nd Paléo Festival Nyon will take place July 24-29 2007.

– John Gammon