In April 2020, when Covid-19 was spreading across Europe, Paléo announced it was cancelling its 2020 summer music festival. Today, it announced it is cancelling its 2021 festival.
In an announcement Paléo said: “the whole organising team kept their hopes alive until the very end. They stacked all the odds in their favour, fiddling with concepts in every way possible. Starting with a blank sheet of paper, they had imagined the 45e Parallèle, a wonderful event brimming with bold discoveries that they were eager to present. But the Paléo team must unfortunately face the facts. A festival, even a scaled-down event such as the 45e Parallèle, will be impossible this summer.”
The costs of setting and running such events are high and a minimum number of tickets must be sold to breakeven.
Every day of work generates costs, and as Daniel Rossellat, president of the Paléo Association, said: “We find ourselves in a Kafkaesque situation. Even if the authorities were to announce good news regarding capacity for example, we can’t know if, nor when such an authorisation will be granted. If we were to start working on the event and it ended up being unauthorised, the risk of a deficit could be unsustainable.”
Given the current uncertainty, which is not helped by rising infections – the 7-day average is now 1,858 cases, up around 80% from a month ago – and with 100 days to go before the event, the financial risk of continuing was too high.
According to management, continuing could be an existential risk for the festival. It said that “although the team is courageous, it is not foolhardy: the risks are too great. Hence, we prefer to ensure the Festival’s continuity and to start work on an event in 2022, which we hope will be spectacular.”
As an unsubsidised non-profit organisation, Paléo generates almost 80% of its revenue from the sale of tickets, food and beverages at the event, so cancelling even 100 out is a major financial blow.
All tickets and passes purchased remain valid for the next Paléo Festival Nyon which will be held from 19 to 24 July 2022. With regard to Céline Dion, the programmers are currently in discussion with the artist and hope to announce a new date soon.