The 51st Montreux Jazz Festival drew around 230,000 people with its rich and varied program. Despite the changeable weather, artists and public alike loved the redesigned stages and amenities.
On 30 March, the Montreux Jazz Festival revealed its jam-packed program. The 51st Festival was full of strong choices, with daring evenings, a completely redesigned free indoor stage, a new concept for intimate stages away from the main site and a new 150-metre-long terrace on the water. These initiatives proved their worth during the Festival, arousing the public’s curiosity and providing more reasons to explore.
Ticket sales strengthened over the course of the Festival, with a total of 90,000 tickets sold. Food and Beverages posted excellent figures thanks to the attractive lakefront and terraces, the very welcoming Parc Vernex, the creation of Lisztomania and the quality of the free program. Despite the changeable weather, the budget is almost balanced at the end of this Festival.
MONTREUX, A PLACE TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL
As we know, Montreux, is conducive to meeting up and sparking spontaneous moments. This is demonstrated by exchanges between artists on and off stage.
Ms. Lauryn Hill improvised a moving version of “Ne me Quitte Pas”, like Nina Simone. Sampha rushed to join Solange on stage, and Chilly Gonzales decided to play “Rockit”, a tribute to Herbie Hancock. Yello promised to come back to Montreux after their only date in Switzerland. Kery James rapped with Youssoupha, whose son was invited on stage too.
The artists’ generosity continued between midnight and 5 a.m., with the jam sessions in the Montreux Jazz Club. Chilly Gonzales springs to mind – he jammed as well as playing a concert, a workshop and a live session. The Club sparkled during spontaneous performances by The Roots, Lemon Twigs, Trilok Gurtu, Cinematic Orchestra and the musicians of Herbie Hancock and Grace Jones. Singer Sam Smith even improvised with a kora player. He Instagrammed “This Festival reminds me why I love music so much”.
Like Quincy Jones, Woodkid and Sam Smith, artists use the Festival as a place to really get away from it all, away from the hustle and bustle. Long-term relationships develop and are valued by the organizers: The Roots replaced Emeli Sandé at the drop of a hat. “If they ask you to perform here, it is your duty and an honor to come here”, said Questlove, the group’s legendary drummer.
NEW THIS YEAR
Lisztomania, Out of the Box and Insider are all new terms that have been added to the Festival’s vocabulary. There was a new distance as well: 150 meters, the length of the new terrace constructed on the water. The terrace impressed the public and significantly improved the flow of people along the lakefront.
With a varied musical program, great looks and a room full to the limit for concerts by Roméo Elvis, Cigarettes After Sex and Polo & Pan, Lisztomania drew the crowds and made a name for itself on the banks of Lake Geneva. It was the same story for the new Out of the Box concept, which the artists loved. The Abbaye de Saint-Maurice was the venue for a moving concert with Preisig & Rusconi. The acoustics of the Salle des Congrès at the Fairmont le Montreux Palace were fantastic.
PRICELESS FREE PROGRAM
Music in the Park has a long history of crowd-pleasing open-air concerts. Parc Vernex got a new look last year – it will be closing with a silent disco on Saturday night. The Strobe Klub justified its reputation as July’s temple to electronic beats. The Pool Party did not disappoint, with its floating sofas and inflatable flamingos.
The Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation educational projects delighted music lovers and the curious alike. The workshops and competitions were well-attended. The winners of the competitions were American Addison Frei for the Parmigiani Montreux Jazz Piano Solo Competition, Swede
Kasper Agnas for the Montreux Jazz Electric Guitar Competition, and his compatriot
Alexander Lövmark, for the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition. The UBS Prix de Public was won by Sportelli. All of these victors will participate in the fourth Montreux Jazz Academy from 23 February to 3 March 2018.
ARE YOU AN INSIDER?
The Montreux Jazz Festival brought together a new community of music lovers and Festival lovers with the mobile application Montreux Jazz Insider. Exclusive news and special events filled the 16 days for the Insiders, with Chilly Gonzales’ live session at the Chalet, a cocktail party with Quincy Jones, Tash Sultana’s soundcheck and more. The application will be updated year-round and its members will be able to buy 2018 tickets two hours earlier than general release.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL 2018
29 June – 14 July
Photo : William Gammuto