Paleo Festival, Nyon, Switzerland

Tuesday: 12:00 – landing in geneva13:30 – arrived at my friend Elie’s place.

Great pleasure to meet again after such a long time; me living in Madrid and him in Geneva has made things more complicated for meeting. So to celebrate, we opened a bottle of very good white wine we drank in the garden in the sun, talking about our lives. But as I said, it had been a long time since we last met, so a second bottle was required. Before finishing the third one, we decided it was time to switch to something a bit lighter, so we opened that bottle of fine rhum I brought him. Don’t know if we were scared of finishing the bottle on the first day, but when half of it had been poured and drank, we decided it was time to go to the festival. I know we ate at some point before, but this has no influence on the rest of the story; the drinking yes.

18:30 – on the road to Paleo.

We had reserved tickets long time before, and the moment had come. Nice trip on the tramway and the train to Nyon, 30km away from Geneva, drinking a fine bottle of spanish wine. Finally there, I think…

First live: Camille. Nice show.

Second live: Franz Ferdinand. Great show, dancing and jumping and sweating. Yeah… that was being fun… yeah… I guess i considerably calmed down at the exact same moment when I realized I didn’t have my iPhone in my pocket anymore. Yeah.., that was a dramatical turn off.

Here I was creating big circle of emptiness in the middle of the jumping crowd to try to find my dear device. Impossible. And 2 minutes after that, while we were still looking for the phone, my friend realizes he just lost his wallet! So now that was me browsing the floor for a phone, and him not for the phone anymore but for his wallet. Fortunately, we went to the lost&found half an hour after that, and the wallet had already been brought back. The money was gone of course, quite a lot of money, but all the rest was there. No iPhone though… Who the hell would bring an iPhone 4s back I mean… We decided to keep on going with the plan anyway: Manu Chao.

Not bad, but sadly accorded to the theory of the ‘old artists phenomenon’ I’ll describe later in this post. We met a guy and a girl, started to have fun with them. Was cool. Then, at 1, my friend left, and that was me and that girl I didn’t know, but we said “ok, let’s keep on rockin’ this place”.

Once the official paying shows were over, we switched to the free area right next door. Started dancing, having drinks, and I took off my bag and left it on the floor. PAUSE! I’ve had a bag on my back for the past 16 years, always carrying my important stuff, money, passport, moleskine and whatever else I need. In 16 years, I’ve never left this bag on the floor unwatched. Never ever. And here I was, leaving it on the floor. And would you believe it? 10 minutes after, it had dissapear! Unbelievable right? I was now hating myself on one side, but most of all, on the other side, was starting to worry about how to go home, at my friend’s place first since I didn’t have his address, no phone to call him, no money to take a cab or any kind of transportation; but most of all to Madrid, since my passport was in my bag. That was kind of a “shit!” moment. It was 4:00 AM, alone in some place in switzerland. The only ‘thing’ I had to hold to was this girl, so I followed her; lost her several times and found her each time. We walked through every kind of open air pubs offering music and drinks, people were starting to get naked on the tables, to scream; we then ended up under a bridge, it was almost dark, apart from the light that came out from the fire inside of a metal tank, and around, all kind of weird people dancing to some trans/dark music. Things had been weird for the past hour, but this was the high point of weirdness.

At 5:30, we started walking toward the train that would take us back to Geneva. After waiting 30 minutes outside in the cold, the train arrived, and at 6:20, I was in the Geneva’s main train station, now officially alone. Before leaving, the girl offered me to give me 20 swiss francs, but my dignity led me to refuse the offer; Later on, I had some regrets on that.

So the situation basically was:
– no money
– no passport
– no credit card
– no phone
– no food
– no water
– nowhere to head to

I came to the conclusion that my only hope was to connect to my facebook and contact my friend this way. Yes, facebook was my only way to eat drink and sleep.

So I asked first to a baker in the station for a place where I could get access to internet. I specified that I didn’t have any money; the guy sent me to a place 10 minutes away from the station, and was kind enough to give me 3CHF to buy connection. Of course, when I finally found the place, it was closed. Asking in another bar, they told me that in the station I could find a place with computers. So I went back to the station, and found this small place that sells food, drinks and internet connection. Now I had to explain my story and beg for free internet. The 50 years old brazilian woman in charge of the store didn’t doubt one second and offered me:
– her own card to access internet
– her own phone to call my friend, since I saw on facebook that I actually had his number
– a tea
– a sandwich
– a drink

I spent 3h30 with this woman in her shop. She was so nice to me and generous. After 35 calls, 20 facebook messages, 1 whatsapp message I asked Mercé through facebook to send to my friend, at 11h30, he finally called and at 12h00 I was in his car driving home. Some kind of annoying adventure, but at least it was in a safe country with nice people I met that night. After sleeping 3h, it was now time to call the embassy and consulate. Good thing is I could deal with it via phone in the first place. Bad thing is they told me they would call back for an appointment and never did. At night, we went to have drinks and food with my friend and Jessica, nice friend of his. Pleasant moment.

Day after, in the afternoon, we went to ‘lac Leman’ to rent a boat and have some food in the middle of the lake. Boat was ridiculously slow, but it still was a pleasant and relaxing moment before going to the second day of the festival.

First thing I did when we arrived to Paleo is going to the lost&found in case they had something for me, in spite of the fact that I had called the day before and they told me they didn’t find anything.
No hope, but just in case, who knows.

AND HERE IT WAS!!!
They did have my bag, and everything apart from the money was in there, passport, credit card, health insurance cards, my brand new RayBan glasses, my friend’s Prada glasses, my moleskine. That was a great moment of relief. So we started this second day of Paleo in a all different mood.

Raggasonic, another case of ‘old artists phenomenon’. We left in the middle and went for Orchestre tout puissant Marcel Duchamp. Now that was a total breathe of fresh air, lovely show and performance. Then Chinese Man, maybe the best show we saw in the all festival, great. We took a quick moment to listen to Sting but again, ‘old artists phenomenon’. That took us to discover A State Of Mind, and this was the second breathe of fresh air, great stuff. And that was all; a quite day, no excesses, came by car, listened to some cool stuff, met cool people, and that was it.

Day after, friday, third day of Paleo, last one for us according to our tickets.

Started with 1995, french rap, surrounded by kids and posh teens… Wasn’t liking this. When the show started, it looked interesting, but after 2 songs, I realized that I was seeing a generic version of Fonky Family/Psy4, made up for people too young to know those bands. Third song: we left. We decided to go for some food and wine.

21:00 – Rodrigo y Gabriela.
Nice concert, crazy band.

One of the reason I wanted to go to this festival was for Lenny Kravitz. 16 years listening to his music, never saw him live. 4th song: we left. Again, ‘old artists phenomenon’.

We decided to switch to Skip The Use. Now that was crazy. Amazing show, the best way to end the festival, 1h30 of crazyness, jumping screaming, lifting people from the floor before they would die smashed by the mass of People. Ended up with galons of sweat in the shirt, exhausted, but happy.

I’m quite tired of writing, and I really doubt anyone will read until there, not even me.

– back home
– wake up
– afternoon on a big powerfull boat on the Lac Leman
– nice restaurant eating the local special: filet de perche. Not that good.
– back home

Sunday: wake up, quick breakfast, car to the close countryside, lunch in a nice and quite place, took a walk in the very quiet village, so quiet that we got stopped by the cops and checked.
Back to airport, and back to Madrid.

Will I go back to Paleo? I think I would be pleased to; I’ve loved the general mood, people are really nice and polite, the music was very cool, the food offer was large and of quality, and most of all, I had a great time with my buddy Elie.

Next festival: Bestival (UK).

About the ‘old artist phenomenon’: avoid big names, too confident, nothing to lose, nothing to prove. Go for small bands: best offer, real willing to seduce.
Manu Chao, Sting, Kravitz, Raggasonic: boring.
Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, Chinese Man, Skip the Use: amazing shit.

Learned the lesson.

Leave a Reply