The director of events and congress of the local public company (SPL) Toulon Métropole, who especially took control of Zénith two years ago, in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, has never stopped. He had just “recovered”, besides his many hats, from the Jazz festival in Toulon. “This is not a job”evacuation with a Robert Albergucci smile.
What do you remember from 2022?
There was the Song of the Year show, Mika, for 20,000 people which went really well, Zénith, where we had a great year. As for the tourism business, it has really started again since we took over in 2017. Moreover, in 2022, we have the best turnover in the history of the convention center. With six congresses, a record.
We sometimes hear that Toulon is stuck between Marseille and Nice. What do you think?
Yes, we were told that for concerts, we were told that for tourism business. In the end, in both cases, we have nothing to be ashamed of. For example, at Zénith, whether in terms of programming or fill ratio, we play Angèle full, M full… We have a real concertgoer in Toulon. There is real demand. I trusted him from the start. This is it, we were right. On the other hand, supply creates demand: quality concerts are needed.
And for the Palais des Congres?
The same. Of course, there are congresses that cannot be taken. But we have stations that arrive downtown, it’s a city on a human scale, and now we also have amazing hotel and restaurant deals. For delegates, all of that is important. I think we have a good card to play today. Other than that, there are good forecasts for 2023, in particular with the return of the medical congress to Toulon.
What do you think this is because?
Toulon often appears on TV. As well as La Chanson de l’année, or Arnaud Ducret’s comedy show, TF1 for example is also in Toulon for the broadcast of the World Cup final, and even a few days ago, the city was on the 1pm newscast.
Is this exhibition so important for Toulon’s image?
Yes, let’s be honest. And there’s also an artistic impact. Because ever since TF1 came to shoot in Mourillon Beach, contact with production has become increasingly fluid. I feel like highlighting the city in general. it makes my job easier.
How about a new music festival you want to start?
This year, the front yard of Zénith will be rehabilitated. We’re going to make the clean tar first. Before redoing all the lighting, so that in 2024 we can have this festival outdoors. The concept is three or four dates over the summer, but not in a classic festival format. possibly four concerts spread over the summer, the dates are not fixed.
The idea is to try to bring in big international names?
Yes. We started from the observation that nowadays, with Arenas, it’s less and less easy to have international artists at Zenith, which is limited to 8,000 or 8,500 places. There, the goal is to have a gauge with 10-12,000 seats, which will allow us to do international business. Of course, there will be paid concerts there. Everything else, jazz, summer concerts, etc., remains free. That’s the mayor’s will.
What are you most proud of?
Proud, I do not know. But I’m happy with everything we managed to do. To succeed, after Covid, to do a free outdoor concert by Mika, to present TF1, and most importantly to bring Zénith back to life. But also the Palais des Congrès, the ice rink, where we made 25,000 entries over the holidays… In fact, they all make me happy. This is a great mission.
What can we pray for in 2023?
Let all the concerts fill. Same for the convention center. But I’m not worried. There are beautiful celebrations, even in these bleak times. We were all afraid that concerts, shows, would be the first budget cuts. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. People need to laugh, decompress and see each other.
Zenith: 36 dates in 2023
While Clara Luciani opened the ball on Wednesday for her 2023 concert, Zénith de Toulon has put another highlight on the agenda. For example, the first dates of the Soprano tour (24 February), Florence Foresti (15 April), Big Flo and Oli (13 May), Christophe Maé (22 October), rocker Shaka Ponk’s last tour (1 December). , M Pokora (December 2), and, of course, the return of Michel Sardou on stage, November 10. At the same time, 52 music dates are currently scheduled throughout the year in the small Live room.
it will happen in Toulon this year…
Parking lot opening…
… with 660 seats, built by metropolis TPM. ” A huge plus enthusiastic Robert Albergucci, who knows how important it is for audiences to be able to park near concert halls. Only the ground floor, which is used and maintained by Zénith which will store 80 light vehicles and 12 semi-trailers there, will not be accessible to the public. Today under construction but going full speed ahead, this silo car park will open on June 15th. The manager has not been appointed, but should be soon.
… in residence from September on the Zénith mezzanine and until 2025, when major rehabilitation work on the opera will begin. Two pedestrian bridges will be built this year to access this mezzanine.
Two lyric shows per year will be scheduled at Zénith, an off-the-walls program is planned at Châteauvallon and Liberté, and all concerts will take place at Palais Neptune.
… ski area! Kinda weird, right? However, this will be one of Toulon’s seven congresses in 2023… because the Toulon cable car is part of the ski area and ski lift!
The first jazz in the new Toulon generation
Until then managed by the Official Festival Committee (Cof), Jazz in Toulon passed last year under the lap of events and the local public company congress (SPL) Toulon Métropole. But Cof 2022 programming, which was discontinued for several months, has clearly been maintained.
This year is therefore important for the new “boss” of the festival, as it will be a question of executing its first program. And Robert Albergucci, director of SPL, left it to no one to scrub it, and turned to coal.
Arturo Sandoval from Cuba was in the spotlight
“This festival is a real jazz festival with international influence, with great artists”, she says. Always completely free, it will take place from 15 to 23 July in all city squares, will start at the Place de la Liberté, and will end at Mourillon, as usual. “With the same amount of money, as we raised, it would almost allow us, financially, to double the artistic plateau.”
Nine concerts were scheduled, with three highlights: Stanley Clarke, Arturo Sandoval, who will be doing two dates, and Avishai Cohen.
“Arturo Sandoval is the greatest Cuban trumpetersaid Robert Albergucci. It was a size, holy monster. In July, he played in Boston and New York, and in Europe, he played in Stuttgart and Toulon. And that’s it. It’s classy to welcome him.” To maximize his presence, the 73-year-old trumpeter will be going on two dates.