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Major Swiss festivals cancel 2021 editions

A number of Swiss festivals have called off 2021 editions, citing uncertainty about whether major events will be permitted to take place this summer.

The 45th instalment of the annual rock festival Paléo Festival Nyon, scheduled to take place between 19–25 July, has been cancelled as “the situation is still too uncertain to consider organising the festival in its usual form”.

However, the organisers revealed that they are working on a ‘Covid-compatible event’ with a reduced capacity and size, and an extended duration. Health conditions permitting, it will take place from 8 July to 8 August 2021.

Greenfield Festival 2021, due to take place in Interlaken, Bern, between 3–5 June with headliners Volbeat, Korn and Billy Talent, has also been called off.

“Just when we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, it moves even further away than it already was,” reads a statement from the organisers.

“We don’t know which rules might have to be followed, which capacity is allowed, which measures we would have to integrate”

“The situation around Covid-19 is simply not getting better fast enough internationally and in Switzerland in particular. Since we don’t know whether major events will be allowed at all, we simply lack planning certainty. We don’t know which rules might have to be followed, which capacity is allowed and which measures we would have to integrate.”

Rock the Ring (cap. 15,000) has also been cancelled for a second consecutive year due to “the lack of planning security for large events,” says the organiser. The event was planned for 17–19 June in Hinwil, with a line-up that included Foreigner, Three Doors Down and Airbourne.

However, CTS Eventim’s stable of Swiss events, which includes Open Air St Gallen (1–4 July) and SummerDays and Seaside Festival (3–4 September), are taking a wait-and-see approach.

On 4 February, a statement was published on their respective social media pages saying the organisers are “working on various scenarios and protection concepts” for each festival but that ultimately, it’s uncertain whether the events will be able to take place.

At the time of writing Blue Balls Festival is set to go ahead from 23–31 July in Lucerne; hip-hop festival Openair Frauenfeld is holding onto its 7–10 July date and pop event Zürich Openair is on for 25–28 August.

Swiss concert series Baloise Session became the first major European festival to cancel its in-person 2021 edition

Swiss concert series Baloise Session became the first major European festival to cancel its in-person 2021 edition in January, as organisers say it’s “impossible to plan with any certainty” due to the limitations of the pandemic.

While it was announced in February that Montreux Jazz Festival will take place at least partially in the digital realm in 2021, livestreaming all performances from its 55th edition as part of a plan to protect the festival against future disruption.

The lack of certainty around Switzerland’s summer season prompted the Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA), along with 26 of the country’s festivals, to call for clarity on the conditions under which Swiss festivals can be held regularly and at full capacity without social distancing.

Last month’s appeal relayed three key requirements for the restart of Swiss festivals: a transparent strategy and uniform conditions for holding events safely, a continual review of measures to ensure they are proportionate to the risks posed, and an event cancellation fund that covers 100% of losses.

Elsewhere, in neighbouring Germany, CTS Eventim and Goodlive have cancelled a slate of the market’s major festivals.

 


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Baloise first European festival to cancel 2021

Swiss concerts series Baloise Session is the first major European festival to cancel its in-person 2021 edition, as organisers say it’s “impossible to plan with any certainty” due to the limitations of the pandemic.

The Baloise Session, which has hosted acts including John Legend, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys and Lionel Richie, was due to take place between the 23 October to 10 November at Basel’s Event Halle but will now forgo the event for a second consecutive year.

“The decision was a difficult one to make but health comes first,” says Beatrice Stirnimann, CEO of the Baloise Session. “Covid-19 continues to affect the world and the Baloise Session in 2021. The health of our visitors, artists and staff comes first. Concerts in an intimate setting with an enthusiastic audience do not fit with social distancing and all the other current pandemic restrictions.

“Concerts in an intimate setting with an enthusiastic audience do not fit with social distancing and all the other restrictions”

“The artists are sensibly continuing to severely limit their travel, are not planning any new tours, and in these difficult times are hardly able to make binding concert engagements. All these facts make it impossible to plan with any certainty. Without planning and financial security, the Baloise Session cannot be held.

“Our principal sponsors Basler Kantonalbank, Novartis, Dufry, AMAG, Cornèrcard and IWB also show great understanding and are helping financially to make ends meet. We are extremely grateful for this loyalty. This is the lifeblood of our 35-year-old festival,” she concludes.

The Baloise Session, which sold out all 15,500 tickets for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019, will return in 2022 and in the meantime will continue with its livestreamed concert series ‘Baloise Session @ Home’.

Elsewhere in the European festival market, French metal festival Hellfest yesterday begged the government to make a decision on whether this year’s season could go ahead and Danish festival organisers have appealed for government support.

 


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Baloise Session cancels October concert series

Swiss concert series Baloise Session will not be taking place this autumn, as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to extend past the summer season.

The Baloise Session, which has hosted acts including John Legend, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys and Lionel Richie, was due to take place from 24 October to 12 November at Basel’s Event Halle.

“With a heavy heart, we regret to announce that we are obliged to postpone the 35th Baloise Session until the autumn of 2021,” reads a statement from organisers.

“Under the current circumstances we are unable to make it happen this year. The artists are unable to go on tour due to the coronavirus, nor can they give any binding commitments for appearances in Basel.

“With a heavy heart, we regret to announce that we are obliged to postpone the 35th Baloise Session until the autumn of 2021”

“Moreover, the pandemic has made it impossible to plan with any assurance.”

Organisers state the postponement “has been made possible” due to the “confidence and support” shown by partners Basler Versicherungen, Basler Kantonalbank, Novartis, Dufry, AMAG, Cornèrcard and IWB, as well as all our co- and product sponsors.

Events of over 1,000 people are currently banned in Switzerland until the end of August. The Swiss government will reassess this measure “before the summer holidays”.

The Baloise Sessions, which sold out all 15,500 tickets for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019, will return from 23 October to 10 November 2021.

 


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2019 another sell-out success for Baloise Session

With concerts by Krokus and Madrugada, the 34th edition of Swiss festival Baloise Session came to a close last night (31 October), bringing the curtain down on three weeks of music.

Baloise 2019 performers included German pop superstar Herbert Grönemeyer, UK soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man, Swiss band Hecht, British pop artist Dido and Northern Irish rockers Snow Patrol. The festival, held indoors in a club-like setting in Basel, attracted 15,500 visitors – another sell-out, replicating 2018’s success.

Other acts who performed over the ten evenings included Brad Paisley, Michael Patrick Kelly, Brittany Howard, Michael Kiwanuka, Wincent Weiss and Tom Walker, as well as newcomers Jazz Morley, Alice Merton and Ward Thomas.

“What a wonderful year! Once more Baloise Session 2019 has closed with fond concert memories, satisfied visitors and enthusiastic bands,” says Beatrice Stirnimann, the festival’s CEO. “That’s exactly what the entire team works tirelessly towards all year long. We are delighted that everything went perfectly.”

As in previous years, Baloise Session 2019’s programming also spread to a few schools in the Basel area. The music workshops, organised by the festival since 2012, were this year devoted to the world of percussion instruments, with the aid of Beat Schürpf of Pro Percussion AG, north-western Switzerland’s largest percussion specialist.

The next Baloise Session will be held from 23 October to 12 November 2020.

 


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Baloise Session secured until 2025

The future of Swiss festival the Baloise Session is looking bright, as insurance group Basler Versicherungen extends its current presenting contract for another five years.

The deal means the event, which takes place each autumn at Basel’s club-like Event Halle, is secured for the years up to and including 2025.

The sold-out 2018 edition of Baloise Session saw performances from George Ezra, Buddy Guy, Lauryn Hill and John Legend.

“The Baloise Session is unique and brings fresh delights year after year,” says Basler Versicherungen chief executive Michael Müller. “We are proud to be presenting sponsor for the seventh time and to contribute to musical diversity in Switzerland through our engagement.”

“We are grateful that Basler Versicherungen, with whom we share a history that goes back more than 20 years, recognises the power and emotionality of music,” comments Beatrice Stirnimann, chief executive of the Baloise Session.

“The Baloise Session is unique and brings fresh delights year after year”

Stirnimann calls the partnership “a valuable commitment” that gives the Baloise Sessions team “the freedom to add further melodious chapters to the 34-year history of the festival and deliver unforgettable concert experiences to visitors.”

Stephan Werthmüller, chairman of the board of Session Basel, adds that the sponsorship renewal is “a testament to a solid partnership based on mutual trust and appreciation.

According to the chairman, “such a long-standing collaboration is extraordinarily important in the field of culture.”

The 2019 edition of Baloise Sessions takes place from 12 to 31 October. The line-up for this year’s event will be announced on Wednesday (21 August), with ticket sales beginning on Wednesday 28 August.

 


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Baloise Session 2018 celebrates sell-out

The 2018 edition of Baloise Session comes to a close tonight, bringing the curtain down on another successful year for the Swiss festival, which sold all its 15,500 tickets after missing out by a whisker last year.

Performers this year included Lauryn Hill, John Legend, George Ezra, Buddy Guy and Lo and Leduc, with indie-rockers Walking on Cars and US singer-songwriter LP playing tonight’s closing show. The festival once again took place in the candlelit club-like setting of Basel’s Event Halle, running from 19 October to 6 November.

“It is a huge testament to our work to achieve a 100% sell-out,” says Baloise Session CEO Beatrice Stirnimann. “That’s not a given these days.

“It is a huge testament to our work to achieve a 100% sell-out”

“The exclusive concert experiences in a unique club-like setting appear to be in tune with the times, and are [also] greatly appreciated by the performers. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my warmest thanks to our visitors.”

Video from eight Baloise Session 2019 concerts – Beth Hart, RAD Trio featuring Candy Dulfer, Buddy Guy, George Ezra, John Legend, Clueso, Sunrise Avenue and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals – are available until the start of December on ARTE Concert, with Lauryn Hill to be added shortly.

Baloise Session will return on 12–31 October next year.

 


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Baloise Session announces 2018 lineup

Baloise Session, the intimate annual concert series held in Basel, Switzerland, has announced its 2018 lineup. This year will see big names including Ms. Lauryn Hill, John Legend and George Ezra perform in the candlelit club-like setting of Basel’s Event Halle.

Running from 19 October to 6 November, the indoor festival will host ten themed concerts, including nights dedicated to ‘Indie Chartbreakers,’ ‘Songpoets’ (featuring George Ezra), ‘Pure Blues’ and ‘Iconic Night’ (featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill). Also on the bill are two ‘Evenings with…’ John Legend.

Organisers hope “stars and newcomers [will conjure] up magic moments of music” together.

This year’s event will be the 33rd edition of the festival, and the third since the death of its founder, Matthias Müller, in 2016. By putting together a characteristically genre-bending lineup of artists both up-and-coming and legendary, organisers hope “stars and newcomers [will conjure] up magic moments of music” together, in front of a crowd of 20,000 people across the series.

Last year’s event saw a similar genre-bending lineup, as Alicia Keys, Madness, Kool & the Gang and Nelly Furtado all took to the Swiss stage to perform.

The full lineup for this year’s Baloise Session can be found below:

19 October – Sunrise Avenue / Veronica Fusaro

20 October – John Legend / Alina Amuri

21 October – John Legend / Nicole Bernegger

25 October – Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals / Jimmy Cliff

26 October – Lo & Leduc / Clueso

27 October – George Ezra / Jack Savoretti

30 October – Buddy Guy / Beth Hart

2 November – Tribalistas / Maria Gadú

5 November – Ms. Lauryn Hill / Marius Bear

6 November – Walking On Cars / LP

 


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‘A milestone’: 99% sell-out for Baloise Session 2017

German singer-songwriters Tim Bendzko and Max Giesinger tonight bring a successful 2017 edition of Baloise Session to a close, with the Swiss festival just missing selling out after having welcomed more than 15,400 people to Basel’s Messeplatz over its ten days.

The indoor festival, which takes place in an “intimate club-like setting by candlelight”, this year ran from 21 October to 9 November, with its traditional series of themed shows this year featuring ‘Electronic Cosmos, ‘Pop Superstars’, German- and Icelandic-themed nights and two “Evenings with…” Alicia Keys.

In addition to Keys’ (pictured) two shows, highlights included well-received performances by Chris Rea, Nelly Furtado, Goldfrapp, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Imelda May, Madness and Kool & the Gang.

“The two appearances by Alicia Keys were the realisation of a long-held dream”

CEO Beatrice Stimmerman says she is “delighted by the success of our 2017 edition. “For us, the two appearances by Alicia Keys were the realisation of a long-held dream,” she explains. “With feeling, power and soul, [she] raised goosebumps among the audience in our intimate club-like setting. A real milestone in our 32-year festival history!”

She continues: “Lots of music fans around the world followed the concert live over the online live-streaming platform ARTE Concert, and the performance by Kool & the Gang was also streamed live. This extends the international reach of Baloise Session.”

 


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Baloise Session reveals 2017 line-up

Swiss festival mainstay Baloise Session has unveiled its 2017 line-up, with Alicia Keys, Madness, Chris Rea, Goldfrapp, Kool & the Gang and Clean Bandit among the big names appearing on this year’s characteristically genre-bending bill.

The indoor festival, which takes place in an “intimate club-like setting by candlelight” at Messeplatz in Basel, this year runs from 21 October to 9 November, and, as is tradition, features a series of themed shows, including ‘Electronic Cosmos, ‘Pop Superstars’, German- and Icelandic-themed nights and two “Evenings with…” Keys.

The number of dates has been trimmed from 12 to ten for Baloise Session 2017 – its second festival following the passing of founder Thomas Müller last July – something festival director Beatrice Stirnimann says is a reflection of its philosophy that “less is sometimes more”. “We’re focusing on quality, not quantity”, she said at a press conference earlier this week.

The full line-up is below:

Baloise Session 2017 line-up

Tickets are on sale at 8am next Wednesday (30 August) from www.baloisesession.ch and Ticketcorner.

 


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Baloise gears up for first fest without Müller

Baloise Session has revealed the full line-up and schedule for its 31st event this autumn – its first without festival founder and president Matthias Müller, who died last month.

Over the almost three weeks from 21 October to 8 November, the indoor festival, which takes place at the Messeplatz in Basel, Switzerland, will present 24 acts across a series of themed events, including ‘Long Live Rock’ on 22 October, with Jeff Beck and Sivert Høyem; ‘Chart Breakers’ on 28 October, with John Newman and Milow; ‘Good Vibrations’ on 31 October, with Brian Wilson and Donavon Frankenreiter; and ‘Indie Sounds’ on 1 November, with Kaiser Chiefs and Boy.

“Matthias Müller’s vision and enthusiasm will remain an example to us all. With this in mind, we dedicate to Matthias the forthcoming Baloise Session 2016”

The festival has also announced that it has extended its partnership with presenting sponsor Baloise Insurance until 2020.

“In these sad times we are happy to have the support of our loyal presenting sponsor, and thank them for their confidence in us,” says Baloise Session CEO Beatrice Stirnimann. “Matthias Müller’s vision and enthusiasm will remain an example to us all. With this in mind, we dedicate to Matthias the forthcoming Baloise Session 2016, with spectacular acts like Emeli Sandé, John Newman and Norah Jones, which he was so thrilled to have engaged.”

The Baloise Session programme can be viewed in full here.

 


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