Daniel Rossellat Interview Paleo Festival Owner and Nyon Mayor
I have interviewed Daniel Rossellat when I was in Switzerland in December and here is the transcript of this exclusive interview. Daniel is the owner of Paleo Festival, a music festival in Nyon, a French-speaking town in Switzerland. Rossellat is also the mayor of Nyon, a city praised for its great atmosphere and culture. I have asked him questions about entrepreneurship, the Swiss immigration reform and of course, Paleo.
The castle of Nyon, famous touristic spot.
Paleo from above.
Daniel with his son, Jules.
Daniel in Leysin.
Was Paleo a long-term project of yours or was it created suddenly?
For me it was a dream, I was 16 years old and I loved music, culture, and I was all day all night with music. I wanted to work in music, but I simply had no talent for music I could not play guitar, no drums, but I loved music, learned to listen to it, go to concerts, so it was evident for me I wanted to be involved in the music business. The first experience we organised, my first concert, was19 years ago with a lot of young people and everyone had something to do for the concert and it was a very great experience and after that we wanted to have a second chance.
Would you say you are still involved with Paleo as you were in the beginning or has that changed?
The festival is in the 40th edition, so it’s forty years my job is very different from before, you have just volunteers, a lot of journalists and you have to work to pay to organise concerts so now it’s very different. 55 people work all year to organise the festival, we’ve more than 4400 volunteers that work during the festival, it’s a big machine, like a big city with a lot of inhabitants in five days. There is the same passion, the same spirit, the same values, we try to have the best festival possible.
Do you have a favorite artist or music genre?
It’s too difficult to just choose one or two because there are a lot of artists. When we started it was very hard to have artists so it’s nice to be able to concretize that. I would say John Mayer, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, a lot of different artists… It was very exceptional to have the opportunity to invite that kind of artists to Paleo and to see them on stage.
Was there a particular concert you liked more than others at Paleo?
Santana, Paul Simon, a lot of different artists, Elton John. Too many artists on stage and it was every time an incredible experience for us.
Would say Paleo is good for new artists?
We have more than 120 concerts a year, so in different stages there are a lot of different kind of artists. We can be modest, humble with that, because it’s just a step, you have to work to be well known, you have to play in a lot of clubs, festivals, different places before you’re well known in that kinda job.
What would you say to young artists?
I cannot give advice because I have strictly no talent for that, I can just say if I like it or not.
When you were beginning, did someone help you create Paleo or give you any advice?
It’s not possible to say you don’t need help but when you have an idea you have to work on that direction, and after that maybe you can be wrong but if you know exactly what you want you have a chance to accomplish that goal.
What can we expect from Paleo 2015?
This year will have the 40th festival and we expect to have a very nice edition with a big impact with a lot of success and of course we are looking forward for the 50th edition and that the festival will have a very long life.
How did Paleo change over the years? Would you say the sprit of Paleo has remained the same?
The spirit is the same but the times are changing so it’s not exactly the same because of the public, the festival was very like a small village and now it’s like a town, it’s quite different. Paleo has the same spirit, atmosphere, but it’s very big and before it was just a small festival. It improves the organisation because every year we try to question all the organisations and we try to improve, we think now we’re better than before.
Does Paleo have any values?
The most important value is respect, we have to respect the audience, because it’s the most important if we don’t have respect for the audience, only for the artist or journalists, you can be sure after a few years you will have no success so it’s really important to have respect for the audience, public.
Do you have any advice to investors, people that want to open a business such as a festival?
It’s very difficult to explain what you have to do because you need passion, patience, you have to work a lot and you can have passion but it’s not enough, you have to work, if not you have no chance
There was a vote recently about Swiss immigration and people were saying they would like to restrict immigration, what are your views on that?
It’s difficult to say, but that kind of political aspect for me is a stupid decision. If you have to know that in Switzerland 50% percent voted yes and 50% voted no and it was just a small difference, and it was no. I think this is a very bad decision but democracy is like that so I’m sure if the same subject was in France, Germany, England you would have maybe the same results, maybe even stronger against foreigners. You have to know that in Nyon for example there are nearly 40% foreign people and we have no problem. People of Nyon voted yes, to be open, and some places there are only 10% of foreign people and the population votes no. It’s very difficult to understand, I think in some countries when you have too many foreigners, people are so shocked that you would have a problem.
Do you have any political plans for Nyon?
It’s just a little town with 20 thousand inhabitants, so it’s a small town but it’s just a small village, but yes, I try to have a new spirit, we try to have a new way to speak with the people and we try to make of Nyon a city of festivals and city of culture, sports because it’s important to not just have infrastructure, we need schools, jobs, roads, everything like that, but I think that people in Nyon also need culture and a lot of different activities to have pleasure living in Nyon.
To finish, let’s end it with a typical question. What are your impressions on Brazil?
Brazil is a country of music, football, a lot of different things, I love Brazil because people love life, the music and are very open with someone. First for me, a very great experience, was in Rio, Manaus, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Amazon, a lot of different places in Brazil and every time I’ve had a great experience. I didn’t speak Portuguese but it was very good to meet a lot of people and have very good memories with football, dances. I went to Carnival, not during, but just before, but in January and it was a very good experience.