À quoi ressemble une journée de rêve à Montreux? Nous avons posé la question aux journalistes qui vous relatent les concerts et les coulisses du MJF chaque été! Retrouvez leurs récits, réels ou fantasmés, du 3 au 18 juillet sur notre site.
If the author were to describe his perfect evening in Montreux, he would need to start by going back in time. Back to the point when his own personal myth began to form.
For once, all is quiet on the banks of Lake Geneva this July. Quiet even though this is normally the time of the Montreux Jazz Festival and all the myths, harmonies and, indeed, the folk festival hubbub set in motion by its founder, Claude Nobs, following decades of lobbying. So instead of live music full of devotion and holiness, the programme for today consists solely of my short school essay on the subject “My perfect evening”.“Bathing in the lake, sleeping bag, being woken by the local police, a slight hangover. Some of that has been repeated every year since.”
In fact, school is not a bad place to start, as that’s where my first memories of the festival come from. In the music room, to be precise. I remember a classmate who missed the first lesson of the day then eventually turned up with a coloured band around his left wrist and announced to the teacher with pride: “I had a bit of a late night. We were in Montreux.” The music teacher accepted this without any further ado. That’s the sort of thing you remember.
“Bathing in the lake, sleeping bag, being woken by the local police, a slight hangover. Some of that has been repeated every year since.”
Three years later, I finally got to go there myself: Raggasonic, Double Pact, bathing in the lake, parking tickets, sleeping bag, being woken by the local police, a slight hangover. Some of that has been repeated every year since.
Some genuine rituals have sprung up in the meantime: leaping off the landing stage in Territet, for example, drinking white wine on the terrace of the Hotel Victoria in Glion, a foray to the casino pool. And naturally a whole load of music to listen to.
My memories of the musical highlights of the last 23 years are incredibly vivid: Erykah Badu in all her versatility in the old casino, the Japanese sound collagist Cornelius appealed to all the senses, Common gave one of the best hip-hop concerts I’ve ever seen, Femi Kuti dedicated his entire performance to the human backside, for a brief moment in the cellar of the congress building, The Drums created the most important music in the world, James Blake almost brought these criminally ugly walls down with his bass notes. Every year provided at least two or three formative moments.
“But that doesn’t stop me compiling my own wish list. For example, a Nigerian all-star evening with the Afrobeats artists Burna Boy, Wizkid, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage and Olamide, loosened up by the young Jamaican Koffee.”
Naturally, it’s clear the Montreux programme directors don’t need my help. But that doesn’t stop me compiling my own wish list. For example, a Nigerian all-star evening with the Afrobeats artists Burna Boy, Wizkid, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage and Olamide, loosened up by the young Jamaican Koffee. Or a Brussels evening with Damso, Roméo Elvis and Angèle. And from early afternoon onwards, a series of acts on the big park stage featuring Van Hunt, Anderson .Paak, Steve Lacy and Liniker e os Caramelos, while Randy Newman plays in the small pavilion by the lake.
The after-party in all the rooms of the Petit Palais, streamed across the whole world, would naturally feature D-Nice, the most important DJ of recent months. And I’d be able to team up with Rapper N.O.R.E. to interview everyone in the style of the YouTube series “Drink Champs”. Twelve months should be enough to organise all that. So I say: À l’année prochaine!
Adrian Schräder writes for publications including NZZ, Tages-Anzeiger, Das Magazin…