When the underground scene laid the foundations for the future of music in the city

From the 15th of May to the 21st of September 2019, Part-Dieu library (Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon) is hosting an exhibition that takes a look back at this vibrant period and pays tribute to the people who were there and made it happen.

 Archives | Last updated date : 24/09/2019

Lyon is without doubt one of France’s biggest cities for music. Its many concert venues, festivals, labels and artists reflect its renowned creative energy.
The Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon is offering visitors a chance to explore this sometimes neglected, but rich and varied musical history, with a high point during the 1970s and 80s, when Lyon was named ‘Capital of Rock’ by the newspaper Libération.

Callas_Valsone_1978© Photo Jean-Paul Bajard

A few key dates

1973: rock is forbidden by the municipal authorities following a Led Zeppelin concert at the Palais des Sports, which saw damage caused in the streets

March 1978: a wild concert given by Patti Smith at the Bourse du Travail leads to the closure of municipal venues to the rock and pop scene.

Spring 1978: A group of passionate individuals attempt to create a venue dedicated to rock: the legendary Rock’n’Roll Mops.

29 July 1978: the very first rock festival at Fourvière! 

1982: rock music comes to the Stade de Gerland with a huge Rolling Stones concert that drew an audience of 50,000 people!








The exhibition

Relive the period through more than 1500 exhibits (including tickets, posters, photographs, album sleeves, merchandise and more), provided by people who were there at the time, as well as previously unpublished photography taken by Jean-Paul Bajard, which is a common thread throughout the exhibition.

The visitor trail is divided into three parts:

  • A battle for rock venues
  • Local groups
  • Radio stations, records dealers and fanzines.

You can follow free guided tours (in French) (some of which require registration) or download the app on your mobile.

Various events (including meetings, showcases, screenings and concerts) are being held at Part-Dieu library and several partner venues.

Visit the exhibition website: Lyon Capitale du Rock 1978 - 1983

Exhibition curators:  Juliette Abric, Cyrille Michaud and Benoît Galichet in collaboration with Céline Boullet.

Opening times

Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 7 pm - Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.
From 9 July to 24 August: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 am to 3 pm (1 pm on Saturday).


Julie was not born in Lyon, but she did decide to start her family here! Not that long ago, she would spend most of her evenings out at concerts... Although she has already bought ear defenders for her little 19-month-old boy, so that he can discover the joys of live rock and electronic music (soon!), she is now much more of a morning person as a mother.

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