Philosophy and values

The Paléo Festival sets out to create a marriage of concert and carnival, to create a kaleidoscopic event that will stimulate public curiosity for new artists and less well-known musical styles. Paléo is both a launching pad for new talents and a platform for established stars. Over the years it has widened its range of musical styles and come to include circus and street performance as well. Seven specially constructed stages play host to acts from all over the world.

Paléo is also an extraordinary global village for the people who go there. For this reason, particular attention is given each year to reception, décor and the choice of food and arts and crafts stalls.

The particular nature of Paléo is also due to the fact that the Festival is organized and run by 5,000 volunteers whose presence on site contributes massively to the event's character. One essential notion that guides the work of the organisers: everything must be done in a spirit of respect for the artists, the spectators and the Festival staff present.
Finally, it is worth noting that Paléo Festival receives no public financial assistance. It has a fundamental aim of staying financially independent whilst remaining accessible to all potential audiences and thus practices a policy of affordable pricing (starting at CHF 60.- per day with the Festival pass). Furthermore, to ensure optimum viewing and listening quality, the Festival has, since 1996, limited daily ticket sales (33,000 spectators per day). In 2004, this limit was raised to 35,000 spectators per day thanks to a significant increase in the size of the site (25% of additional surface area for an increase of only 5% in audience size).

Although Paléo is quite unique in its philosophy and approach, it is close to a number of other international events with which it shares a common spirit. Among these, Roskilde in Denmark, the Printemps de Bourges in France, the Festival des Vieilles Charrues in France, the Quebec Summer Festival in Canada or other Swiss events such as the Gurten Festival Berne and St. Gallen Open Air spring to mind.

Social responsibilities

Aware of its role as a socially responsible organisation, Paléo Festival is active throughout the region in supporting a variety of charitable and socio-cultural activities. Since 2005, it has set out its fundamental values in a charter, which represents a formal engagement by the Festival in respect of the paying public, the volunteer staff, the artists who perform, environmental protection, preventive action and social responsibility. Paléo’s business philosophy, which above all promotes respect for all those involved in organising the Festival, is based on the same principles that underpin sustainable development. It has thus developed responsible management methods, which give the same weight to economic, ecological and social factors.

In its field of activity, Paléo also assumes its role as the largest open-air festival in the country. Whilst sharing its know-how, its network and its knowledge of the entertainment world with the professionals of the milieu, it makes its success and reputation available to promote new musical talent the world over. Finally, and in an effort to disseminate its philosophy as widely as possible, it is engaged in supporting efforts to promote responsibility amongst its partners in their own areas of activity.


The Paléo family

Is it true that all the Festival's staff are volunteers?

Yes, staff are recruited on a voluntary basis, including those with management responsibility. This means that a member of staff donates some of his/her time and skills to contribute to the success of the Festival. They are paid no salary but receive a modest amount in expenses and payment in kind (food end drink tokens, invitations, meals etc.). Only permanent members of the salaried staff and those working over an extended period of time (at least two months) are taken on as paid staff. As the idea for the Festival was originally dreamed up by a team of friends, the notion of voluntary participation was central from the outset given the very limited funds available. This circle of friends has gradually grown in size, but the principle remains the same. The person in charge of each sector choice is responsible for recruiting his/her own staff. In 2015, 5000 volunteers made the Festival a success.

How are they recruited?

The choice of staff members is the responsibility of the person in charge of each sector who often call upon their personal circle of friends and acquaintances. In the majority of sectors, vacancies are rare.

The Festival’s permanent office organises recruitment for those sectors requiring longer-term staff, and which are operational for three weeks before and after the Festival (construction, staff catering and site security) and for those sectors requiring large numbers of volunteers (reception/security and cleaning services).

On the other hand, for work involving the construction and removal of the Festival’s installations from early July to the end of August, and for the security and cleaning sectors during the week of the Festival, a considerable number of new staff need to be recruited.
Recruitment to these sectors is mainly via the internet but also involves former volunteers recommending friends and acquaintances. The Festival office registers all offers and passes them on to those responsible for each sector.

Environmental policy

Aware of its responsibilities in terms of respect for the environment, Paléo Festival continues to search for solutions aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the event. Every year, the Festival fixes precise goals in order to take its ecological commitment a little further and to assert even more clearly its conviction that the “greening” of the event is a major priority.

2020 will be a new beginning for the Festival, both in terms of urban planning and commitments for the planet. It became obvious that the urban planning changes thus offered a magnificent opportunity for Paléo to set new ambitions in this field. The first measures defined are as follows:

•    Implementation in 2020 of returnable plates and cutlery to reduce single use

•    25% reduction in carbon emissions by the 50th Festival

•    In short term, introduce efficient measures on transport, food, consumption and protection of soil and biodiversity

Paléo encourages public transport

A major priority is the implementing of a public transport network that will allow as many people as possible to enjoy the Festival without travelling by car. Thanks to an improved offer in terms of trains and special bus services, organised in partnership the CFF, NStCM and the TCS, Paléo Festival has now made it possible for everyone to get home safely – and until late into the night - whether they live in Geneva, Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Porrentruy or Brig. Between 2005 and 2018, the proportion of festivalgoers using public transport to get to the Festival site increased from 27% to 45%. Now, the objective is to maintain this percentage and to reduce the number of cars traveling to the festival.

The festival invites everybody to use public transportation or to carpool whenever possible.

Paléo sorts its waste and avoids wastage

The Festival produced 299 tonnes of waste in 2018, or 997 grams per person present on the site. Thanks to the work of "Aspirators", 59% of this waste was recycled. The Festival wants to maintain each year a minimum threshold of 50% waste management. The "Aspirators" team cleans the site and sorts all waste generated by the Festival. Dressed in green, they also clean the toilet facilities and make sure that the numerous dustbins around the site do not overflow with rubbish.

New: Too Good To Go and Paléo are collaborating! Unsold food is thus consumed and does not end up tragically wasted. Discover the stalls participating in the operation on the Paléo app and the Too Good To Go app.

Paléo consumes local

The report on Paléo’s environmental impact reveals that consumption of food and drink has a considerable effect on the environment. Paléo has therefore decided to find ways of increasing the proportion of local produce in the meals it serves to its 5,000 volunteer staff members (near 50'000 every year). Paléo encourages food stallholders to use local, organic or vegetarian produce. Finally, Paléo is committed to increasing the amount of Swiss wines on sale in the Festival’s various bars.

Paléo uses green energy

Since 2006, Paléo has been committed to using 100% green energy. As part of a joint venture involving Romande Energie and the Services Industriels of Nyon, Paléo Festival has been using  the “green” electrical current "Via d'ici".

Paléo saves energy

On the strength of the findings of an energy and environmental audit carried out by Romande Energie and the WWF in 2007, Paléo is continuing to strengthen measures aimed at reducing electricity consumption. Electricity consumption reached 256 MWh in 2018, or 854 Wh per person present on the site.

Paléo saves water

On the basis of the above-mentioned audit, Paléo is also continuing to strengthen measures aimed at reducing water consumption. With the introduction of these measures (dry urinals, water flow reducers etc.) water consumption at the Festival was measured at 10,824 m3 in 2018, representing individual consumption of 36 litres.

Paléo takes care of your ears

The comfort of all those attending the Festival is very much dependent on the quality of sound on the site. In addition to its rigorous respect of Swiss legislation (ordinance on sound and lasers), the Festival has implemented different measures aimed at optimising the listening quality of festivalgoers. It also ensures that the public have access to quiet zones and relaxation areas. Earplugs are distributed free of charge in all the Paléo boutiques, at the various information desks and at the environmental information stall.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of concrete measures taken by the Festival in an attempt to reduce its environmental impact as much as possible:

Paléo encourages public transport

  • Free trains and buses between Nyon and l’Asse
  • Each year, an improved night train service during the Festival week
  • TCS buses to and from most towns in Western Switzerland
  • Special buses at Lausanne and Geneva stations, providing services to various neighbourhoods in these cities
  • Dedicated parking zones are available for bicycles and a specially sign-posted and secured cycle route available between Nyon/Prangins and the Festival
  • The Route de St-Cergue, linking the Festival to the center and train station of Nyon, has street lighting the whole way 


  • Giving our equipment a second life
  • Restoration of the soils
  • Installation of dedicated bins (Pet, Alu, waste, glass) all over the site
  • Provision of waste reception centres for stalls to encourage sorting/recycling
  • Ban on the distribution of flyers and samples by partners
  • Introduction of a system of reusable drinking cups with deposit
  • Communication and information material printed only on recycled paper
  • 2018: in all Paléo food stalls and bars, plastic straws are replaced by biodegradable straws made with starch
  • 2019: Too Good To Go and Paléo are collaborating! Unsold food is thus consumed and does not end up tragically wasted. 

Paléo consumes local

  • Look for more local producers
  • A menu 100% local in staff canteens/restaurants
  • A large offer of Swiss wines in the Festival’s bars.

Paléo saves energy

  • Use of economical lighting systems
  • Installation of master switches enabling bars and other structures to turn off electrical current at the flick of a single switch
  • Use of timers in certain electrical installations in order to optimise consumption
  • Raising awareness amongst suppliers and other partners about the importance of using only class A equipment

Paléo saves water

  • Use of water flow reduction devices.
  • Introduction of dry urinals in certain zones.
  • Systematic turning off of all urinals using water at closing time

Paléo takes care of your ears

  • Regular control of noise levels during concerts
  • Distribution of earplugs
  • Quiet zones for relaxation around the site

Health & Safety

An event on the scale of Paléo Festival needs to strike the right balance between the public's freedom to enjoy themselves and the security measures necessary to ensure that the event takes place safely and smoothly. Approximately 1,000 volunteer staff are taken on and trained every year by the Festival to ensure the reception and safety of festival goers and artists alike and provide security throughout the event.