Line-up released for Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival

After being postponed due to the Covid pandemic, the Montreux Jazz Festival will be held this July.

Line-up released for Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival
A statue of Freddie Mercury in the Swiss town of Montreux. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

British singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man and French neofolk musician Woodkid are headlining this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival, downsized and to be held mostly outdoors due to the pandemic, organisers said Tuesday.

French-Lebanese trumpeter and composer Ibrahim Maalouf and British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks, who was named best breakthrough artist at this year’s Brit Awards, are also in the line-up.

“Small is beautiful,” is the informal slogan for the 55th edition of the festival, which was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus crisis.

The festival has been scheduled for July 2-17, coinciding with the planned loosening of anti-Covid measures in Switzerland.

Around 20,000 spectators are expected to turn out — more than 10 times fewer than in 2019, when some 250,000 took part, according to organisers.

For more than half a century, Montreux has been a magnet for big names of the music business and rising stars alike.

It has retained its jazz label despite dramatically expanding its repertoire, with big names in rock, punk, R&B and hip-hop also on the bill this year.

The 2021 programme has been condensed and the format adjusted to easily adapt to the Covid-19 situation in the idyllic Swiss town of Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

The main stage has been built on the lake, 25 metres (80 feet) from the shore, opposite a grandstand that can hold up to 500 spectators.

It will be one of only four stages used for the festival — two for ticket holders and two free of charge — able to accommodate a total of up to 1,500 people a day.

Tickets go on sale on June 8. Organisers also said they would livestream several of the concerts “in order to bring the festival to a larger audience”.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Queen guitarist praises Swiss soldiers for version of ‘We Will Rock You’

The Swiss army has received some unexpected praise – not for its soldiering but for its musicianship, and from none other than Queen guitarist and rock legend Brian May.

Queen guitarist praises Swiss soldiers for version of 'We Will Rock You'
A screengrab of the video showing Swiss soliders performing Queen's We Will Rock You-

“Swiss Army – A stonkin’ rendition of WWRY [We Will Rock You],” wrote May in an Instagram post featuring a video of Swiss soldiers performing the classic in the driving snow.

“I feel very honoured. Never in my wildest dreams,” the guitarist added.





Swiss Army – A stonkin’ rendition of WWRY. I feel very honoured. Never in my wildest dreams …. Bri

A post shared by Brian Harold May (@brianmayforreal) on Sep 26, 2018 at 8:36pm PDT

The video shows soldiers during a military parade at the Alpnach Air Base in the canton of Obwalden in 2013. A yellow Swiss post bus can even be seen in the background.

The band Queen had a strong connection with Switzerland with the band recording at the Mountain Studios in Montreux from 1978 to 1995.

The 1995 ‘Made in Heaven’ album features the Duck House cabin on Lake Geneva which was rented by singer Freddie Mercury.

There is also a statue of Mercury in Geneva while every year his fans gather in Montreux on September 5th to celebrate the anniversary of his birth.

A Freddie Mercury fan celebrates the singer's birthday in Montreux near the city's statue of the star. Photo: AFP