Near Lyon, an old wasteland becomes “Les Grandes Locos”, a new cultural place to party

Near Lyon, an old wasteland becomes “Les Grandes Locos”, a new cultural place to party
Near Lyon, an old wasteland becomes “Les Grandes Locos”, a new cultural place to party

It has been several years now in Lyon that former industrial wastelands have been happily converted into highly prized cultural sites. There were the Fagor – Brandt factories in the Gerland district, temporarily fitted out to host events such as the Dance Biennale. Today there is “les Grandes Locos” in La Mulatière, on the outskirts of Lyon, which will host the Nuits Sonores festival from this Tuesday until May 12.

The metropolis has acquired part of this former SNCF technical center (22,000 m2) dating from 1846, a true witness to the history of the railway. It invested nearly 4 million euros in work to make the site accessible to the public. Unoccupied since 2019, the place is extraordinary, with its workshops of dizzying dimensions in which locomotives were once repaired, its imposing steel carcass and its immense glass roofs.

The Lyon railway halls welcomed a crowd of workers

For more than a century and a half, the Lyon railway halls welcomed crowds of workers. Today, these railway workers have been replaced by Nuits Sonores festival-goers, who have come to join in the fun. Another era… “The size of the place, its history, its strategic location in this district in profound change make it an exceptional site for the influence of our major events” enthuses Bruno Bernard, the president of the metropolis of Lyon.

The Nuits Sonores electronic music festival is the first to install its turntables there. The contemporary art biennial, the dance biennial and the Lyon Street food festival will follow. Moved from the Fagor – Brandt factories, the organizers of the Nuits Sonores had less than a year to prepare the new edition of the festival and rethink their organization to best adapt to the immensity of the Grandes Locos halls, now ready to roar to the sound of the best DJs on the planet.

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