Concerts that thrilled the Vélodrome

Or will soon...

It’s true that the Vélodrome stadium often vibrates to the chants of the Olympia fans, and what fans they are! The best, they say! But that’s not the point. Did you know that it also vibrates to the sound of Rock, Rap, Pop and even Opera? No ? Then read on, and you’ll know everything there is to know about the concerts that have set the Vélodrome alight… Or are about to!

Published on 23 July 2023

L’Orange Vélodrome

Our stadium has nothing to envy of the great European stadiums or the big Parisian venues. Located in the center of Marseille, its ease of access makes it a unique venue. Metro, bus, bike, scooter, on foot, all means are good to get there quickly.
Created in 1937, the Orange Vélodrome can accommodate 35,000 people in its early years. It subsequently underwent a number of changes to reach its current capacity of 67,394. Enough space for gigantic concerts!

Let’s go back in time

The 80s, the first concerts at the Velodrome

The first artist to set foot on the lawn was none other than Latin lover Julio Iglesias in 1980. Around 3,500 people turned out to applaud him. In 1983 it was the turn of the Queen of Folk, New Yorker Joan Baez followed a year later by the band Metallica. In the 80s, concerts were rare in the South of France, in favor of the capital or the Côte d’Azur (Nice). Marseille suffers from its reputation, but the Pink Floyd (nor even afraid!) pass through Marseille in 1989.

The 90s still shy

The 90s at the Vélodrome are best known for OM, which saw its heyday with the likes of Papin, Waddle and Basile Boli, but a few artists, and not the least, still turn up! The Rolling Stones in 1990, the band will be back in 2003 and 2018, Mick Jagger loves Marseille! In July 1993 it was U2‘s turn to fill the stadium, Bono reportedly even tried to phone Bernard Tapie (Football club president), but to no avail! Jean-Michel Jarre will come in September 1993 a real visual and sound immersion

From the 2000s

The stadium undergoes major work for a few years. After a long period of silence (well, not quite … the Olympian fans are still there!) it’s national star Johnny Hallyday who opens the ball with a mega-concert in July 2000, returning to the stadium 3 more times in the years that follow in 2003, 2006 and 2009. In 2002, tenor Luciano Pavarotti enchanted the Vélodrome before an audience of 25,000. In 2008, it was the British group Police, who took to the stage, without fuss, stage shows or decor. In June 2009, the Australian hard rock band AC DC set the Stade on fire, literally and figuratively! The concert ends with a huge fireworks display! They’ll be back in 2015.
One month later, following a tragic accident while setting up the stage Madonna cancels her concert scheduled for July 19, 2009.

A new 5-star stadium is born!

The stadium will undergo major renovations over several years. Its capacity is increased by almost 17,000 and a roof is added; the stadium is totally rethought and restructured. For almost 5 years, no events were held there. The new stadium was inaugurated in October 2014. It becomes the first French stadium to obtain ISO 20121 certification in 2018, and thus meets criterion 4 of the UEFA ranking.

The one inaugurating it is none other than the former Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney himself! Nearly 3 hours of concert and a setlist of 41 songs, most of which the audience will sing along to! That same year, the stadium will see a techno surge under its (new) roof! A grand premiere, the Summer Festival sets the stage on fire with an exceptional program and over 30,000 people for this electro evening, such a success that the festival will be repeated in 2017 and 2018.

In May 2016 it’s the big comeback of AC DC with Guns’N’Roses frontman Axl Rose as lead singer, replacing singer Brian Johnson who is experiencing hearing problems. In July 2017 it’s the Diva Céline Dion who does her show and even sings “Allez l’OM”. In October of the same year it was Marseille rapper Soprano who gave an exceptional concert, 55,000 people were there to applaud him with many guests, he would repeat in 2019 and in 2022 where he again moved the crowds with nearly 60,000 people!”

In 2019 a big first, the English group Muse propelled the Vélodrome audience into a spaceship, a real sound and light show, the stadium went wild! Sadly, this is the last concert to be given at the Vélodrome, as Covid passes by and closes the stadium with a double lock.

But in 2022, business is back in full swing! With local boy Jul, like it or not, the stadium is packed to the rafters! The Velodrome is going crazy with sock hops! In a completely different register, the timeless French group Indochine also filled the stadium in June 2022, with 60,000 people coming to applaud them.

The most recent concerts at 2023

Since the 1980s, the stadium has gained in notoriety, but in recent years its success has accelerated! This summer 2023, no fewer than 4 concerts took place.
On June 11, 2023 it was Beyonce in person who came to brave the rain and set the stadium alight. Tickets sold out in less than 30 minutes! On July 8, a gothic atmosphere took over the stadium as Mylène Farmer treated the Marseilles crowd to an exceptional show! A week later, on July 15, it was more of a Rock atmosphere, with the group Muse turning the Vélodrome upside down for the 2nd time! And this time with a spectacular illuminated tifo! On July 22, in front of their home crowd, SCH set Marseille alight like never before!

Upcoming events

2024 is gearing up to host a series of exceptional events that will delight fans of rock and comedy. We’re off to a flying start with American rock icon Bruce Springsteen on 25 May, with the one and only French date – at the Velodrome, please! Ten or so days later, on 8 June, the noise and screams of overexcited fans will see the crazy German band Rammstein rock the roof of the stadium!
On 22 June, Redouane Bougheraba adds a touch of humour from Marseille, bringing the Vélodrome to tears of laughter with a memorable performance.

It’s clear that the next few years will see more and more mega-stars arriving in Marseille! We can’t wait to see them! Are we the best fans in the world or not?