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MONTREUX

Elton John to play Montreux Jazz Festival as part of farewell tour

Pop legend Elton John is to include the Montreux Jazz Festival in the venues he plays during his farewell tour that starts this September.

Elton John to play Montreux Jazz Festival as part of farewell tour
Photo: MJF

John, who announced on Wednesday he was planning to stop touring and spend more time with his family, will perform at the 53rd Montreux Jazz Festival on June 29th and 30th  2019, the festival said in a news release.

The annual Montreux Jazz Festival attracts big names to the banks of Lake Geneva every summer but it is the first time the hugely successful performing artist will grace the stage there in a career spanning five decades.

The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will begin in the United States and comprise more than 300 shows across five continents before it concludes in 2021.

“Elton’s new stage production will take his fans on a musical and highly visual journey spanning a 50-year career of hits,” the festival said.

Elton John is one of the world’s top-selling solo artists and has sold more than 300 million records worldwide.

He holds the record for the biggest-selling single of all time, “Candle in the Wind 1997”, written to mark the death of Princess Diana, which sold over 33 million copies.

On Monday the musician was honoured with the Crystal Award for this long-standing fight against HIV/AIDS at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

Tickets for the concerts go on sale from July 14th and are available from the Montreux Jazz Festival website and Elton John’s website.

FESTIVAL

Basel Tattoo: What you need to know about Switzerland’s biggest military music festival

Basel Tattoo kicks off today, running until 20 July in the north-western Swiss city. But what is it? And why do Scottish bagpipers show up every year?

Basel Tattoo: What you need to know about Switzerland’s biggest military music festival
Photo: Basel Tattoo
What is it? 
 
Basel Tattoo is a show and parade bringing together military music bands from around the world.
 
How did it start? 
 
Organizers had the idea for the event after a Basel-based military band performed several times at the Edinburgh Tattoo, the world’s most famous event of its kind. The first edition of Basel Tattoo was held in 2006, attracting an impressive 38,000 people to the courtyard of a military barracks in Kleinbasel.  
 
So it’s a big deal? 
 
It is now. These days it’s sponsored by the Swiss federal defense department and over the years has become bigger and bolder, attracting more than one million spectators over all its shows. More than 60,000 tickets have been sold to this year's shows so far.
 
What happens during the Tattoo? 
 
The daily two-hour show includes around 1,000 participants from all over the world. This year’s event features the Hellenic Navy Band from Greece, dancers and acrobats from China, a police motorcycle acrobatic troupe from Germany and a Dutch orchestra. And of course, given its Scottish links, spectators will also enjoy music from ‘bagrock’ band the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, the International Highland Dancers and The Massed Pipes and Drums, a marching band formed of 200 players from around the world, an annual highlight of the show. Add to that an appearance from America’s Got Talent contestant Johnny Manuel and you can’t say Basel Tattoo doesn’t offer something for everyone. 
 
Photo: Basel Tattoo
 
What else goes on? 
 
Each year the Tattoo also stages a parade through the streets of Basel, featuring the international marching bands who are part of The Massed Pipes and Drums, along with other groups. This year’s parade takes place on Saturday 13 July from 2pm and includes pipers and drummers from New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the UK, South Africa, Canada and several other countries, as well as local groups from Basel and elsewhere in Switzerland.
 
Worth a visit? 
 
Absolutely, though you’ll be one of a large crowd – some 120,000 spectators are expected to turn out for the parade. After all, Basel residents are quite partial to a spot of marching – each year there are several parades as part of the Fasnacht festival, when people even drag themselves out of bed at 4am for a night-time parade. 
 
Anything else going on? 
 
Kids will love paying a visit to the military barracks on 20 July for the Children’s Day, when they can meet some of the pipers and dancers, ask questions and try out musical instruments. Best of all, it’s free.
 
How do I buy tickets for the show?
 
Find out more about the event and buy your tickets here.
 
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