Close your eyes; think of Swiss music… what do you hear? Yodels, Swiss horns and cow bells? If that is the case, this article is a must-read for you. You will learn that the first thing that should come to your mind is the festival scene Switzerland offers.
For such a small country, the number of festivals you will find all around the country is staggering. You only need to look at what happened in July to understand to scope of it.
Let’s start our tour with the first festival of the month, and perhaps one of the most mythical festival in the world, the Montreux Jazz Festival. This iconic festival on the shores of Lake Geneva, has hosted some of the greatest Jazz legends including: Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Charles Lloyd and BB King, to name only a few. The most famous chords in guitar history, those of Smoke on The Water from Deep Purple are a direct reference to the fire that took place in the casino where the festival used to be held. Funky Claude, the founder of festival is even mentioned in the song.
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More of Hip-Hop fan? Hop to the Openair Frauenfeld in the cantons of Thurgovie, in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland, for one of the highest quality festival in Europe for this genre. Indeed, Swiss people may have an image of being strict and calm but they like Hip-Hop as much as everyone else. People from all around Europe come together for this 3-day festival. This year Frauenfeld had the honor of hosting Nas, Usher, the Weeknd, Travis Scott, and more.
The capital of Switzerland, Bern, also offers a quality festival for all types of music. Headlining this year’s Gurten Festival were artists such as Macklemore, Imagine Dragons, and Rag’n’Bone Man.
With the same spirit, but on a larger scale and recognized as one of Europe’s most important festivals, is the Paleo Festival. Close to Geneva, this festival hosted the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arcade Fire, Jamiroquai and many more.
Those looking for something more alternative can also find their happiness. In the heart of the mountains is the Shankra Festival, a Psy-Trance Festival where according to their moto: “Your Life Is Your Message”.
We finish the month with a bit more tranquility as you head to the mountains for the Verbier Festival. In the heart of the Swiss alps, this two-week festival offers top notch Classical music.
Author: Dan Aufseesser, EHL Bachelor Student