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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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Swiss Live Talents celebrates successful debut MUMA

Many, many winners… not one loser! That’s how the Swiss Live Talents Music Marathon (MUMA), which took place in Bern on 17 and 18 November 2017, could be summed up.

Swiss Live Talents is a platform created by the SwissAmp association, which aims to promote and support the Swiss live music scene. For its third edition and for the first time in Switzerland, a two-day music marathon – with some 40 concerts and numerous workshops, conferences as well as networking sessions – turned Bern into not only the political, but also musical, capital of Switzerland.

The opening ceremony on Friday night, featuring the canton of Ticino as host and special guest, launched this extraordinary event with speeches by honourable guests such as federal councillor Ignazio Cassis and the mayor of Bern, Alec von Graffenried. The marathon format was intended by the organisers to give all the 36 nominated – selected from some 660 registered – artists the opportunity to perform in front of the international jury. The latter, with music professionals and bookers from Switzerland, the United States, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Romania, Germany, Poland, France, Denmark and Serbia, enjoyed both richness and variety of the line-up and left impressed by the high quality and standards of the performing acts.

Jenny Ward, who books bands and artists for the Irish festivals Body & Soul and Electric Picnic, comments: “I saw lots of great bands, the level of the artists is – I don’t like the expression ‘export-ready’, but I must say that I definitely saw many artists that are export-ready.”

“I’m hoping to help build more bridges, so Swiss bands can feel that there are actually opportunities to play in the States”

Marion Meier, of Zurich Open Air, adds: “I’ve been really surprised by some acts I had already heard on record; their live performance was outstanding.”

ILMC’s Greg Parmley says: “It is interesting to see how the event is evolving. I was here for the last edition two years ago and there’s a lot more people, more bands and it’s great to see how it all grows.”

“Swiss Live Talents is a great opportunity for me to see some very talented Swiss artists I may not otherwise get to see in the US, as they usually evolve in Switzerland and Europe first,” comments Rev Moose of New York agency Marauder. “Here, everything is very close by and well organised, so one has the ability to see up to four bands in one hour, which is great for us.

“I had the feeling that a lot of Swiss bands don’t really look at the US as being a possibility, and that’s unfortunate – I’m hoping to help build more bridges, so Swiss bands can feel that there are actually opportunities to play in the States”.

The MUMA 2017 winners are:

SwissAmp can proudly look back on a very successful edition of its Swiss Live Talents 2017, crowned by the very first Swiss Live Talents Music Marathon. The next edition will take place in 2019.

 


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