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Fees, security fears force Live at Sunset cancellation

The Zurich festival will take a "musical sabbatical" this summer

By Jon Chapple on 05 Feb 2016

Live at Sunset 2015, Zurich

Live at Sunset 2015, Dolder ice rink, Zurich


Zurich’s Live at Sunset festival will take a “musical sabbatical” in 2016.

“To cancel the festival for this year was a difficult decision for us, as it is very near to our hearts,” said Hans Walter, owner of Live at Sunset organiser Impact Music, in a statement posted on the festival’s website. “But the music and concert market is facing difficulties all over the world and has challenged us with risks that are no longer manageable.”

Walter highlights increasing musicians’ fees and a reluctance among international – particularly American – artists to tour in the wake of the attack on the Bataclan as the chief factors contributing to the 2016 festival’s cancellation.

“The fees for musicians exceed our budget more and more, and we are unwilling to pass on the additional costs to the visitors”

“The fees for musicians exceed our [budget] more and more […] and we are unwilling to pass on the additional costs to the visitors,” Walter continued. “This would mean charging more for tickets, making it unaffordable for a lot of people and therefore missing the market. There are other factors to consider, such as the latest terrorist attacks: US artists, still dominant in the Swiss music market, are noticeably less on tour this year.”

Lionel Richie, Tom Odell, ZZ Top, John Legend and Anastacia played at the 20th Live at Sunset in 2015.

Walter says the break will allow the festival, which regularly pulls in 30,000 attendees, to “generate ideas and develop new concepts” – but can not confirm whether it will return in 2017: “Even though the future of the festival is unsure as of yet, Live at Sunset will always stand for the same values: quality, care, outstanding concerts and unforgettable musical moments.”