PALÉO ARTS & SPECTACLES is a non profit-making cultural organisation founded in 1974. As stipulated in the association's statutes, its purpose is to, "promote the development of cultural musical and artistic activities, particularly by means of the organization of concerts or other events".
Its principal activity is the organization of the NYON PALEO FESTIVAL which takes place every year at the end of July and which hosts about 230,000 spectators at each edition. Alongside this principal activity, the association has turned its hand to the organisation of various concerts and events throughout the west-Switzerland region. As a result of the ever-increasing demand in this area, Paléo joined with the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1993 to found an independent limited company called OPUS ONE. It shares office space with the Festival organisation in Nyon.
Apart from organising concerts, OPUS ONE acts as agent for foreign artists on Swiss territory and is also active in the organisation of private events.
How does the Paléo Association work?
Just like any other association, ultimate decision-making authority lies in the hands of a General Assembly composed of all the active members of the association. The General Assembly appoints seven of its members to serve on the management committee, as well as a three-member finance commission.
The organisation of the Nyon Paléo Festival is the responsibility of a special committee known as the COF - or Festival Organizing Committee - which has charge of all financial, technical administrative and promotional aspects. This committee is made up of 110 members each of whom has responsibility for a given sector. The majority of these persons are members of the association. The COF prepares and co-ordinates the work of the 5,000 volunteer Festival staff.
The Co-ordination Commission (COCO) is made up of key members of the Festival staff along with five members delegated by the association. Its function is the elaboration and analysis of the festival's organisation every year.
Why the need for a permanent office?
Given the sheer magnitude of the organizational tasks involved and the need for an administrative and technical input to the daily running of affairs, a permanent management office was set up after a few years. This permanent office now comprises about forty full-time salaried staff members. The permanent office is made up of the following sectors:
- Administration: this sector covers a number of different administrative services involved in the general organisation of the Festival, finance, human resources and IT; it also manages working relations with festival partners, neighbours and local authorities and is responsible for the 5,000 volunteer staff.
- Reception & security: the mission of this department is to offer optimal conditions of reception, comfort and security to the public, staff and artists as well as to the Festival’s partners. The overall objective of the different sectors of the department (Camping and Campus Reception, Security, Infirmary and Traffic Flow) is to offer a set of services to the Festival organisation and to festivalgoers in order to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as planned during the Festival. This approach involves risk management (anticipation, reduction and prevention), the management of static and moving crowds, the setting up of preventive information and communication procedures and responding to any particular needs of the public.
- Programming: this sector is responsible for the elaboration of the Festival's musical program. It is also responsible for coordinating the street theatre program. In addition to this, it takes care of all logistical and contractual aspects arising from the presence of artists at the Festival. The technical side of stage management (sound, lighting, instruments etc) also comes under its responsibility.
- Construction: Paléo Festival is an open-air festival whose infrastructures - stages, food stalls, bars, camping, crèche etc. - are all temporary. The construction department sets up the building plan for the forthcoming festival during the winter and are responsible for its co-ordination once the work has commenced some four weeks prior to the beginning festivities. It is also in charge of all decoration and cleaning aspects of the event. The construction department also has charge of a very considerable plant stock which is rented out to other events throughout the year.
- Food and beverage: The food and beverage department installs all the necessary food and beverage logistics on site. This involves the installation of numerous bars and restaurants whether they be open to the public or reserved for the use of the organization; but it also involves the management of a large number of private outlets present on site. These private sites are installed all over the festival grounds and in the campsite; they mostly dispense food and arts and crafts.
- Communication: It is the job of this sector to manage the visual and promotional communication services for the Festival, all relations with the media (mor than 500 journalists are accredited each year), the management of the website www.paleo.ch and of ticketing and merchandising. The Festival creates each year a range of original T-shirts, clothing, luggage items and other accessories.