July 21, 2015 / 2:28 PM / 4 years ago

Swiss Paleo Festival pays tribute to folk roots at 40th edition

Zoe Colotis, singer of the band Caravan Palace, performs at the Paleo Festival in Nyon, Switzerland, July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) - Switzerland’s Paleo Festival celebrates its 40th edition this week, drawing big names such as Sting and Robbie Williams but also paying tribute to its folk-music roots.

The week-long event, held in Nyon, began as a folk festival in 1976 with an audience of 1,800 spectators. It has since grown into a major open-air festival, last year drawing 230,000 people to its seven stages.

Pop singer Robbie Williams headlined the festival’s open on Monday, to be followed by acts and artists such as rock group Kings of Leon, electronica band Faithless, Sting and DJ David Guetta.

The festival will also look back at its roots with shows from folk singers such as 1976 headliners Malicorne and Joan Baez, who took to the festival stage in 1982.

“We decided to keep a little piece of nostalgia and invite some legendary artists who have marked the last 40 years,” festival founder and director Daniel Rossellat said in a handout for the festival’s 40th edition.

Over the years, the festival has played host to musicians varying from Ray Charles to The Cure. It also has an area dedicated to circus acts and street theater.

    “At the beginning it was mainly folk music,” Jacques Monnier, the festival’s programer, said. “Later we opened to new horizons, like Brazilian music, South America and finally to rock, hip-hop, electro.”

Paleo Festival Nyon runs until July 26.

Reporting by Reuters Television and Reuters Pictures; Writing By Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Larry King

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