Many people come to our part of the world because of something related to the U.N. or the Red Cross or W.H.O. More often for business than for pleasure. But once a year, people from around the world flock to nearby Montreux to let loose–to rub shoulders with rock stars and listen to live music. For the past 49 years, they’ve come for the Montreux Jazz Festival.
On Saturday we headed north along the lake to Montreux, eager to see the festival that helped launch the careers of so many greats: Miles Davis, Nina Simone and Washington D.C.’s own Duke Ellington. Since the 1970s, the two week “jazz” festival expanded to include all kinds of music–this year John Legend and Lady Gaga topped the billings. We saw California reggae-jazz group Groundation, who were returning to the festival for the first time in 10 years. But before heading into a dark concert hall (where photos did not come out well), we had to soak up some sun.
The concert was both laid-back and thrilling–you could really feel the energy of the crowd and the history of the place. I can easily say we will make it back to Montreux for their 50th festival.
And now that I have been, one of my Swiss goals is to own a vintage Montreux Jazz Festival poster. I’ve loved late artist Keith Haring’s work since my childhood–his work really feels like the voice of the decade I was born into–so, I’d especially like to have one of his posters…
…we’ll see! I’m hoping your week is filled with music and sunshine, but for now, a few links:
- Montreux Jazz Archives Gain UNESCO Status (Swiss Info)
- Netflix’s Searing Nina Simone Doc Explores Musical Evolution, Racial Stagnation (A.V. Club)
- Keith Haring: Just Say Know (Rolling Stone, 1989)