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UNESCO digs Montreux jazz archive

AFP · 20 Jun 2012, 08:54

Published: 20 Jun 2012 08:54 GMT+02:00

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Thousands of hours of jazz, blues and rock from the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival dating back 45 years could be awarded UNESCO protected status, organizers said on Tuesday.

"These 5,000 hours of music represent the world's biggest collection of taped live concerts," said Claude Nobs, who founded the event in the Swiss Lake Geneva town in 1967.

"It's so important that UNESCO is looking into classifying the archive as a part of our world cultural heritage," he added, referring to the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Nobs, 76, started keeping a record of the festivals after finding out in 1968 that a Swiss television company had wiped a cassette featuring Ella Fitzgerald to record a football match.

Since then, Nobs kept his archive safe in a bunker on the grounds of his chalet in Caux, Switzerland.

Work began to digitalize the footage in 2008 and will take 15,000 hours in total.

Members of the public will soon be able to view the concerts in a specially-designed two-seater booth unveiled by Lausanne's Ecole Polytechnique (EPFL) in Renens.

"For me the booth is a wonderful thing because I never got to see concerts
from the auditorium," said Nobs.

Story continues below…

"It recreates the festival atmosphere totally."

The 46th Montreux Jazz Festival takes place this year from June 29th to July 14th and will feature Bob Dylan, Alanis Morissette, Jane Birkin and Herbie Hancock.

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