In the excellent documentary by Gabin Rivoire Laurent Garnier : Off the Record, presented in preview, Monday July 19, in Lyon, the day before the first concerts of the 18e edition of the Nuits Sonores festival, we can hear this figure of French DJing explaining the almost carnal fusion that can unite techno aces and dancers. A relationship illustrated in the film by images of collective ecstasies common in the world before the pandemic.
On July 20, the slow synthetic magma distilled by the Russo-Berliner Dasha Rush seemed to be aimed at the brain rather than the guts. A metaphor of a “Vortex” illustrated by the fractal creations of graphic designer Julius Horsthuis projected onto the immersive device of a 360 ° video screen overlooking the public gathered in one of the two halls of the former Fagor-Brandt factories, the most vast of the three places of reception of Nuits Sonores 2021. Same cerebral sensation, a little later with the arrhythmias propelled by the sound sculptor XL.IKS. “Some of the artists were chosen when we thought we had to play in front of a seated audience », explains Pierre-Marie Oullion, the festival’s programmer.
At a time when electronic music and its exuberant public seemed to be one of the major victims of the first health criteria for relaunching the summer events announced in February, the Lyon event chose to adapt « rather than imagine three years without contact with our audience », insists Vincent Carry, president of Arty Farty, the organizing association of Nuits Sonores. For him, the very identity of the festival allowed this more contemplative orientation. « We never contented ourselves with the dance side of this music ”, he said.
Usually scheduled in May, Nuits Sonores moved from July 19 to 25, keeping pace with improvements in health standards. Reduced to a quarter of its activities and capacity (a gauge of 5,000 people, standing and not masked, instead of the 20,000 daily spectators), the festival started slowly at the beginning of the week – 3,500 tickets sold for the opening night – , with plans to sell out next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Good attendance also noted on the Heat site, their « food court » from the Confluence district, welcoming DJs from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and at Sucre, the club on the roof of a former sugar factory on the banks of the Saône. “Our public is attached to a global project more than to the big names of a program », assures Pierre-Marie Oullion.
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