THE VILLAGE DU SOIR – A PARTY VILLAGE FOR ALL AGES
by Chené Koscielny
Geneva’s nightlife has been woken from a deep slumber by the Village du Soir, a creative venue in an industrial zone that will make you feel like you’re out on the town in London, New York or Berlin.
Since its opening near La Praille six months ago, the Village du Soir has attracted more than 250,000 people and built up a Facebook community of 24,000.
“It’s been totally crazy!” says Julien de Tassigny, spokesperson for the Village. “It’s unbelievable, considering we’re only open three nights of the week.”
The concept – a cultural mix of music, events, eating and drinking within and around industrial buildings which are scheduled to be demolished in four years time, has breathed life into the surrounding area.
What is the Village du Soir?
The Village du Soir comprises 2,000 square meters of empty warehouses transformed into a festive party village across three huge spaces: La Distillerie, La Carosserie and L’Epicerie, as well as the surrounding outdoor space.
Eight bars are operated on a rotation basis by some of the city’s popular bars. On Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays three DJs pump out international and local techno and house music across the three halls until late. The decoration is quirky, industrial and funky with graffiti, a suspended Fiat 500 in one of the halls and a tractor!
The concept is to keep changing themes to keep things fresh and to cater for all tastes. Previous events include two night markets, an Indian food festival, a wine market and an 80s party night.
The Night Market
The night market has been by far the most successful event so far, with the first one in November drawing more than 5,000 people on one night.
We visited during the second night market, when the main hall was transformed into a vibrant, colourful mix of stalls offering handcrafted and select products. The bars were doing a roaring trade and food trucks outside kept the crowd happily fed. A few glasses of Prosecco and a lovely fresh bagel were just what I needed. A live band in the outside section of the village drew the after work fun-seekers out despite a chill in the air.
In the Kitchen
Another popular event hosted by the Village du Soir is the Formule: ‘In the Kitchen’. The hall is transformed into a massive kitchen – using theatre décor, food is freshly prepared by a local ‘traiteur’ and then served by waiters with ‘tapas’ platters. Wine is provided by a local winemaker and diners are then invited to dance on the tables until the early hours. The concept is aimed at people between 30-50 years of age and has been a great success so far with around 2,500 people attending.
“At home we spend a lot of time in the lounge and the kitchen, where we share, laugh and spend time together. In the Kitchen tries to recreate this atmosphere,” explains Julien.
Who is the Village du Soir aimed at?
Although the crowd can be quite young on certain evenings, the venue is aimed at the whole of Geneva, insists Julien.
“We attract bankers, students, people of all ages from those in their 20s to people in their 80s.”.
According to Julien, there has been a real need for something like this in Geneva and he strongly believes they fill the gap between underground venues and clubs for the super wealthy.
How did the Village du Soir get Started?
The concept was started by local businessman Seb Courage, who was involved in running another night venue in Geneva, and was inspired by creative venues in cities like Lisbon and Berlin.
The Next Big Thing …
A massive project for the summer is about to be unveiled, which will make everything the team has achieved so far look insignificant.
We have been invited to watch the installation of the new project in a few week’s time … watch this space – we’ll keep you posted.