Paris La Défense Arena, more than ever ready to turn up the volume

(ETX Daily Up) – dir = “ltr”> After eighteen months of forced shutdown, Paris La Défense Arena has recently reopened its doors for the NRJ Music Tour. The first in a long list of concerts to be hosted by Europe’s largest closed and modular performance hall in the coming months.

“It’s only a start, but there is a lot of excitement,” said Bathilde Lorenzetti, vice-president of Paris La Défense Arena. This excitement came from the holding of the NRJ Music Tour on Friday, September 3, in this gigantic multimodal enclosure located a few hundred meters from the Grande Arche de la Défense. About fifteen French and international artists including Matt Pokora, Clara Luciani and Hatik performed for nearly three hours in front of 10,000 music lovers, gathered for what NRJ described as “THE concert not to be missed”.

For Bathilde Lorenzetti, the event especially allowed Paris La Défense Arena to get back on track after a year and a half of closure. “We really wanted to co-organize this event. On the one hand, we wanted to reopen the room but also to test this new configuration of 10,000 people. We had not yet had the opportunity to do so because we had created it. in March 2020, and the pandemic cut us off. ”

Both an auditorium and a resident stadium for the Racing 92 rugby team, the complex has quickly established itself on the cultural and sporting agenda since its inauguration in October 2017 with three Rolling Stones concerts. “At the time, we were a real novelty. A room like mine does not exist anywhere else. The arenas can accommodate up to 20,000 people, while we can accommodate 40,000,” said Bathilde Lorenzetti.

“Our prom diary is full”

This unique configuration in Europe has already attracted internationally renowned artists such as Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, Pink, Rammstein and Paul McCartney. The former Beatle was due to perform there again in May 2020, but the pandemic willed it otherwise. “The health crisis took us by surprise as we began to develop our musical programming. Paul McCartney was to come and perform at Paris La Défense Arena, just like Celine Dion”, specifies Bathilde Lorenzetti. “At first, we didn’t know what sauce we were going to be eaten in and we couldn’t operate in the event for 19 months. But all the prospecting, editing or ticketing work continued during this time.” .

The coronavirus has greatly affected the live performance sector, whose losses were estimated in mid-May at 2.3 billion euros by the Senate. On the side of Paris La Défense Arena, they would amount to 25 million euros. The enclosure was however able to count on its shareholders and some emergency aid from the State. Financial support that made it possible to avoid layoffs, as Bathilde Lorenzetti underlines.

The complex is now counting on 2022 to come back in force with a polished musical program. Celine Dion, Elton John, Iron Maiden and Koffi Olomidé appear there, as do Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer as part of the Hella Mega Tour. “Our prom diary is completely full. And that’s why it was important for us to host the NRJ Music Tour. It’s a way to send the signal that we are on an upward slope,” says Bathilde Lorenzetti.

Apart from the return of concerts, Paris La Défense Arena is preparing to host the next matches of Racing 92 in Top14, the first of which will take place on Saturday 11 September. The complex will embark on another major project in 2024: hosting the swimming events during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. “We already know the sport-event well, but we will exercise a slightly different profession for a few months. It is a huge honor to participate in this event, which only happens once in a lifetime,” recalls Bathilde Lorenzetti.