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”.