• While cancellations have been linked for several months, the three main festivals in the Lyon region have recently formalized the holding of their 2021 edition this summer.

  • The organizers of Nuits de Fourvière and Nuits Sonores in Lyon, as well as Jazz in Vienne (Isère), tell

    20 Minutes

    "the crazy emotional lift" they experienced.

  • They are all preparing a particular edition, with a greatly reduced gauge (and 100% sitting) due to the social distancing imposed in the Covid-19 context.

“2020 had been such a heartbreak that it was impossible for us not to try to maintain our 2021 edition. If we were to be the last festival to cancel, we thought we would be the one.

»Managing Director of Jazz à Vienne (Isère), Samuel Riblier symbolizes the unwavering determination of three major cultural events in the Lyon region having managed to maintain their 2021 edition. In addition to Jazz à Vienne (from June 23 to July 10), which formalized its programming on April 6, the Nuits de Fourvière (from June 1 to July 30) then Nuits Sonores (from July 20 to 25) followed suit in Lyon.

Our file on the coronavirus

This positive impetus for summer concerts, despite cancellations by the shovel everywhere in France (Eurockéennes, Solidays, Vieilles Charrues, Main Square, etc.) due to the Covid-19, took shape on February 18, when the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot encouraged the festivals to embark on a formula with 5,000 seats maximum, all seated. "As long as we were not prevented

manu militari

from doing it, I did not consider for a single second not to maintain our festival", assures Dominique Delorme, director of Nuits de Fourvière. Whether in Fourvière or Vienna, the setting of an antique theater, accustomed to a large majority of seats, helped to keep the event going. Samuel Riblier returns to the declaration of Roselyne Bachelot.

It was the real turning point for us.

We suddenly felt authorized and legitimate to launch our festival.

We are even over-motivated for this edition, especially since for a city of 30,000 inhabitants like Vienna, it changes everything whether this festival takes place or not.

In any case, we've been in a crazy emotional lift for months.


The question of “time-stamping” in suspense

This is still accompanied by certain gray areas, such as the problem of the curfew, decreed in France until June 30 (at 9 p.m. from May 19 to June 8, then at 11 p.m. from June 9 to 29. ). "We are campaigning for a time-stamping system, with the concert ticket that would serve as a certificate," indicates Samuel Riblier. We quickly need a clear position to know if we should advance the schedules of our concerts, which would risk losing spectators. »For more than a month, Jazz à Vienne opened its ticket office by announcing from its first date, June 23 (Jamie Cullum and Anne Paceo), a show between 8:30 pm and around 11:30 pm.

Les Nuits de Fourvière preferred to opt for a “no time stamping possible” option, thus bringing forward its events for the month of June, starting with Robyn Orlin and Camille (June 1 and 2), scheduled at 7:30 pm.

Associated this year with the Biennial of Dance (which postponed its 19th edition from September to June), the Nuits de Fourvière see, in view of the regulations imposed, their capacity limited to 1,000 people until June 9, then to 2,000 spectators. then (with a capacity of 4,500 places).

"I must be on my 15th budget version for six months"

In this delicate context, the Lyon summer event is struggling to "reduce operating costs", by focusing in particular on four stages, unlike 12 in pre-Covid-19, and by negotiating "the readjustment of the cost of a show ".

"We are working to balance our exercise, despite this gauge reduced by half," explains Dominique Delorme.

We alerted the Ministry of Culture and we had confirmation that there will be financial support.


✨After several months in the mist, the light is finally rising around the 2021 edition of Nuits de Fourvière.

It is with ardor and in the respect of the sanitary rules that we will celebrate the 75 years of the festival, from May 27 to July 31.https: //t.co/PvJSPkYJIM pic.twitter.com/JOR5ol2v81

- Nuits de Fourvière (@fourviere) March 1, 2021

As for Jazz à Vienne, which went from welcoming 7,500 spectators to less than 4,000, we are also counting on state aid, "up to a maximum of 400,000 euros per event".

“I must be on my 15th budget version for six months,” smiles Samuel Riblier.

Before slipping in wishful thinking: "If we take away the rules of distancing from the end of June, we could fall a little more on our feet financially."

"Watching a DJ for two hours without dancing, that would be torture"

The “big surprise” in Lyon's cultural news comes from the maintenance of Nuits Sonores, a benchmark electronic music festival. "Since September 2020, we have looked into the possibility of producing the festival in just three months if the opportunity arises", says the artistic director of the event Pierre-Marie Oullion, ready "at all costs" to relaunch Nuits Sonores, still in the former Fagor-Brandt factories (Lyon 7th district).

"We had the choice between waiting to hope for a standing-dancing version in September-October, and securing this possibility this summer," says Pierre-Marie Oullion.

We take this opportunity to reaffirm that we are not just a dancefloor festival.

Watching a DJ for two hours, without being able to stand up and dance, that would be torture.

So we want to present things that are not too frustrating live.


Few international artists in Fourvière

On May 26, Nuits Sonores will unveil the programming of this “special” edition.

With a mainly French plateau.

"In this uncertain context, tours are impossible for many international artists," notes Dominique Delorme, who was to welcome Thom Yorke, Liam Gallagher, Beck and Agnes Obel for example during the canceled 2020 edition.

The rare exceptions for this 75th anniversary concern the American singer Melody Gardot, who lives part of the year in Paris, and the Israeli Asaf Avidan, living in Italy.

A finding that affects less Jazz à Vienne, managed to maintain a program "more than 60% international", despite the issues related to Covid-19 but also to Brexit.

Bars and authorized spectator movements

“Since this is our 40th anniversary, we wanted to respect the DNA of the festival,” says artistic director Benjamin Tanguy. Marcus Miller, Maceo Parker, Jamie Cullum, Salif Keita, Keziah Jones, Seu Jorge and Ayo are notably on the bill in Isère. Moreover, the context of exclusively seated places facing the artists did not constitute the slightest obstacle to their coming, according to Benjamin Tanguy: “No artist has asked himself this question. Even a group like Deluxe said they would adapt their set for the occasion ”.

Nuits Sonores, which is aware of turning to “an audience older than usual”, has partly turned to new artists in view of the constraints on the stage.

The priority for the electro festival was to obtain the assurance that spectators would be allowed to move as they pleased from the concert stage (1,700 seats) to that of audiovisual shows (800 seats).

But also that bars would be allowed on site.

"For us, it is a real psychological salvation"

2,500 people can therefore be welcomed each evening, with schedules adapted to the non-dancing context, from 6 p.m. to midnight, and even a mysterious meeting scheduled from 6 a.m. to noon.

We will be very far from the effervescence of a classic edition, with attendance almost divided by ten compared to the usual 120,000 participants.

However, the organizers do not shy away from their relief, like Pierre-Marie Oullion.

People were afraid that there would be nothing to do this summer.

Even for us, after so much partial unemployment in our structure, it is a real psychological salvation.


And this despite these constraints of distance and 100% seated places which hardly fits our imagination of summer “festochs”?

"If the spectators stand in the stands, the risk of contamination will not be increased," recalls Samuel Riblier.

It's still music, we don't go to mass.

We're selling people a good time so we're not going to put a cop behind the spectators to sit them down.



Lyon: Les Nuits de Fourvière unveil their program, with Benjamin Biolay, Woodkid and Asaf Avidan


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