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COVID-19

Switzerland’s iconic Montreux Jazz Festival cancelled amid coronavirus pandemic

The iconic Montreux Jazz Festival announced Friday the cancellation of this year's edition due to the pandemic, marking the first time since 1967 that the show can not go on.

Switzerland's iconic Montreux Jazz Festival cancelled amid coronavirus pandemic
AFP

“It is with deep regret that the organisers of the Montreux Jazz Festival must today announce that this year's event, which was set to be held from 3 to 18 July 2020, will not take place,” organisers said.

The programme — set to include Lionel Richie, Brittany Howard, Lenny Kravitz and Black Pumas —  “will be partly carried over to next year's Festival, which will take place from 2 to 17 July 2021.”

The Swiss government announced on Thursday it would begin gradually easing some protective measures against the coronavirus, but stressed most of the hygiene and physical distancing measures would remain in place.

“As such, it is now impossible for us to consider holding an event on the scale of Montreux Jazz Festival in July,” the statement said, pointing out that other festivals had also been called off across Switzerland.

“Public health concerns naturally take precedence over all other considerations,” it said.

This thus marks the first time in the festival's 53 years of existence that the event has been cancelled.

“Until the very end, all of us here in the festival team were still hoping to share these magical moments with everyone who, like us, cannot imagine a summer without the Montreux Jazz Festival,” the organisers said 

Montreux, which takes place in the idyllic Swiss town, on the shores of Lake Geneva, has over the past half century become a magnet for big names  and rising stars alike. 

The jazz label has been retained despite a dramatically expanding repertoire over the years.

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COVID-19

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?

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