19 - 25 July


An alternative narrative

In the present day, we could be forgiven for believing that we are living through a bad dream, an improbable dystopia. Fictional scenarios are fast catching up with, and even overtaking, reality. They are unsettling our routines, turning our certainties upside down. They are forcing us to rethink who we are, to shift our horizons, to redefine the boundaries that we set for our projects. Nuits Sonores, which has always believed in the value of agility and constant reinvention, is putting its imagination back to work. Once more, we will be prototyping, experimenting and coming up with new approaches, full of the freedom and rigour that have come to define the Nuits Sonores adventure.

For this special edition – the first summertime event in its history – the festival will be reshaped around new narratives, a new time structure and new ways of interacting with the artists. Stage performances will be reimagined. The role and position of the audience, as well as their relationship with the artists, will be questioned. However, the same foundations of the festival’s DNA will continue to anchor proceedings: the urban setting and industrial aesthetic, the desire to showcase the local scene, the emphasis on independence. As such, Nuits Sonores 2021 is being designed as a variation on the festival theme, one that will put forward alternative ideas for future editions.

But above all else, the return of Nuits Sonores embodies our desire to come together again and to share experiences: with our audiences, with our staff, with our volunteers. To the artists who have written their names into the history of the festival, an invitation has been extended to come and present alternative creations, ones that go against their usual methods. They will be joined on the programme by a generation of up-and-coming acts who have not been able to perform for over a year, and some of whom will be making their Nuits Sonores debuts in 2021.

This special edition serves as confirmation of the desire of everyone associated with Arty Farty to remain a strong voice in the shellshocked, and involuntarily mute, world of culture. In this strangest of years, we are inviting the night owls to come out into light of day, in order to celebrate an urgent return to life, to gatherings and to the spirit of togetherness.

Arty Farty's team