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Montreux Jazz boss targets ‘iconic destinations’

Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) chief Mathieu Jaton has revealed he is eyeing up “iconic destinations” for the brand’s continued international expansion.

The iconic Swiss festival returns to the Lake Geneva shoreline from 5-20 July this year. However, Jaton and the team are also exploring further overseas spin-offs following the festival’s successful debut in the US in Miami, Florida, earlier this year.

MJF has previously held international editions in Tokyo, Japan, Suzhou, China and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And Jaton, who has directed the event since 2013, tells IQ that there is much more to come on that front.

“The future of the festival is very interesting because next year we’re going to have at least six international festivals in iconic locations,” says Jaton. “Tokyo is coming back in ’24, as is China and Brazil, which will maybe move from Rio to Salvador, Bahia. We will also continue in Miami.

“We will open in Abu Dhabi at the Louvre. We’re going to have the stage on the sea facing the museum, which is going to be great. And the last baby is a Montreux Jazz Festival in Ibiza. We’re still processing, thinking and talking about it. It’s not definitely signed yet, but we have the date, we have the partners, we have everything.

“The goal is to bring jazz into the mecca of electronic music. I love the idea: the electronic music needs recognition from the jazz scene, and the jazz scene needs electronic music to be open to the word. So having Montreux in the middle is a very nice sign. I love that.”

“The goal is not to have 10 or 20 festivals around the planet. We’re looking for iconic destinations that make sense with our DNA”

The third Montreux Jazz Festival China is set for 25-27 October at Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre, while talks have also taken place regarding a potential MJF South Africa.

“We are having discussions [about an event] close to Cape Town,” adds Jaton. “But it’s not a strategic development in terms of us wanting a very big expansion and having 10 or 20 festivals around the planet – that’s not the goal. We’re looking for iconic destinations that make sense with our DNA.”

Montreux Jazz Festival Miami premiered over three days in March at waterfront venue The Hangar, with actor and rapper Will Smith joining event co-owner and ambassador Jon Batiste on stage for an impromptu rap performance on the second night.

“Miami was crazy. We were very happy with it,” says Jaton. “We decided to start small and beautiful in Coconut Grove with only 1,500 people. Jon Batiste headed the festival, and as an ambassador, he brought all of his friends. We got the appearance of Will Smith coming in and jamming with Jon, which was very much in the spirit of Montreux.”

Batiste headlined the first two days of the event, which also featured the likes of Daryl Hall, The Wailers, Cimafunk, Emily Estefan, Cory Henry, Mathis Picard, Daniela Mercury and Adrian Cota & The Winston House Band, topped off with the Legendary Montreux Jam Session, curated by Elmo Lovano.

“The American audience was quite surprised to see a little bit of a different way of doing things,” adds Jaton. “It was a really interesting first edition and we will continue in that vein.”


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Thousands flock to first Montreux Jazz Fest Miami

Thousands of concertgoers attended the inaugural Montreux Jazz Festival (MFJ) Miami, which featured a surprise appearance from actor Will Smith.

The US spin-off of the legendary Swiss festival premiered from 1-3 March at 1,500-cap waterfront venue The Hangar, with Smith joining event co-owner and ambassador Jon Batiste on stage for an impromptu rap performance on the second night.

Batiste headlined the first two days of the event, which also featured the likes of Daryl Hall, The Wailers, Cimafunk, Emily Estefan, Cory Henry, Mathis Picard, Daniela Mercury and Adrian Cota & The Winston House Band.

Topping off each night was the Legendary Montreux Jam Session, curated by Elmo Lovano.

“Our goal from the very beginning was to take a page out of Montreux Jazz Festival’s book”

“It is with immense gratitude that we joyfully close the first chapter of Montreux Jazz Festival Miami,” says a statement from organisers. “Our goal from the very beginning was to take a page out of Montreux Jazz Festival’s book and create a festival that did everything it could to show the musicians how much we love and respect them.

“Our friends in Switzerland had shown us over the years that if we were successful in doing that, the artists would feel at home and subsequently the talent would alchemise. If the magical musical moments of the first year are any indication, we are off to a good start.”

MJF’s flagship Swiss edition has unveiled a reimagined layout for its 58th edition, set for 5-20 July 2024, while its traditional main venue undergoes construction work. The event is reinventing itself in the town with an extended route along the quay, plus a brand-new 5,000-cap stage to be built on top of Lake Geneva itself.

The changes have been made due to construction work on the Montreux Music and Convention Centre Congress Centre (2m2c), which usually hosts the festival’s major shows, with work scheduled to continue until 2025. A stage was previously created on the lake in 2021.

MJF has previously launched international editions in Japan, China and Brazil, with further expansion planned in the UAE and Spain.

“It’s not a copy and paste format,” Jaton told IQ last year. “It’s bringing the DNA of Montreux to each of those countries, using the rules of each of these countries.”

PHOTO (L-R): Adam Fell (MJFM board), Jeremy Arditi (MJFM board), Jon Batiste (MJFM board and co-owner), Mathieu Jaton (CEO of Montreux Jazz Festival).

Image: @mannyofmiami


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Ten new festivals for 2024

Every year, intrepid promoters and event organisers roll out new concepts and innovative ideas to launch music festivals around the world – and 2024 is no different, with dozens of gatherings set to be added to the calendar. Looking towards the coming months, IQ previews ten of the most talked about new festivals that artists and fans can look forward to attending during 2024…

Location: Impact Challenger Hall, Bangkok
Promoter: Creativeman
Dates: 24-25 August
Capacity: 25,000-40,000 per day

One of Japan’s biggest international festivals is expanding to Bangkok this year. Summer Sonic, which will be held over the 17-18 August weekend in its traditional twin homes of Tokyo and Osaka, will add a further weekend a week later in the Thai capital, where it will host a mix of Japanese, Asian, and international talent.

“Nowadays, overseas festivals are spreading to various regions and achieving success, and Korean artists are active all over the world, so we are starting Summer Sonic Bangkok as a way for Japan to connect with the world through music,” comments Creativeman CEO Naoki Shimizu. “We will aim for a more attractive and powerful lineup by booking great artists in both countries.”

The last edition of Summer Sonic that took place outside of Japan was Summer Sonic Shanghai in 2017. It featured a lineup headlined by Luna Sea, followed by The Kooks, Placebo, Nothing But Thieves, Sum 41, Travis, The Fratellis, and more. Korean operation ICA has partnered with Creativeman to programme the inaugural Thai edition and is aiming for a mix of acts that can attract a split of 60% local Thai fans and 40% international visitors.

Location: Racino in Ebreichsdorf, Vienna
Promoter: Live Nation
Dates: 5-7 July
Capacity: 60,000

Hip-hop festival franchise Rolling Loud will launch in Austria this summer as the only European edition of the US-based festival brand.

The inaugural Austrian edition, dubbed Rolling Loud Europe, will take over the Racino open-air venue in Ebreichsdorf, on the outskirts of capital city Vienna, with organisers promising that “some of the most outstanding and hottest representatives of US, British, and European rap will perform”.

Launched in 2015, the Miami-hailing festival has also run events in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Toronto, and is also plotting a debut event in Thailand this year. In Europe, most recently Rolling Loud has been staged in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, Munich in Germany, and Portimão located on Portugal’s Algarve.

Location: The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham
Promoters: Aiken Promotions and Pod Concerts
Date: 8 June
Capacity: 15,000

Dublin will be the host of a new one-day festival called In The Meadows, organised by Aiken Promotions and Pod Concerts.

Mercury Award-nominated Irish folk music group Lankum are due to headline the inaugural event at The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham – a 17th century complex that now houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art and in the past has played host to artists including Leonard Cohen, Bon Iver, Blur, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Patti Smith, High Flying Birds, boygenius, and The War On Drugs.

The historic hospital site is also home to Forbidden Fruit, a festival that Aiken and Pod have also been partners in producing for the last 12 years.

Location: Raynham Estate, Norfolk
Promoters: ATC Group and Wild Paths
Dates: 15-18 August
Capacity: 10,000
ATC Group and the team behind Norwich-based multi-venue festival Wild Paths are partnering to create a new event on the Raynham Estate in North Norfolk.

Wild Fields will “showcase the best music from across the genre spectrum, pairing it with woodland dining, immersive performance, and wellness experiences,” according to the organisers, who have confirmed Ezra Collective, SBTRKT, Los Bitchos, and Nightmares on Wax among the more established names on the bill. The lineup will also offer “a truly diverse range of festival performers,” as the event has signed up to Keychange’s 50/50 pledge.

Festival director Ben Street says, “Wild Fields will be a truly unique event with a varied and progressive musical lineup paired with renowned wellness practitioners, festival banquets, and immersive performance. From dawn to dusk and deep, deep into the night, there’ll be a plethora of groundbreaking bands and DJs to keep even the most seasoned festival reveller entertained and inspired.”

Wild Fields reportedly has a five-year deal with the site owner and will aim to grow its capacity year-on-year.

Location: Harriet Island Regional Park, Saint Paul
Promoter: C3 Presents
Dates: 19-20 July
Capacity: 30,000-35,000 per day

The first-ever Minnesota Yacht Club Festival will bring fans together for two days of performances across two stages with no overlapping sets between the 20 artists: organisers claim there will be “no schedule conflicts on this riverbank!”

Using Harriet Island Regional Park in the heart of downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota, alongside the Mississippi River, promoters C3 Presents are planning a variety of premium ticket options to incorporate historic riverboat rides, comfortable lounges, exclusive food options, air-conditioned restrooms, and more.

Launching the event, C3’s Tim Sweetwood stated, “When you consider that the Twin Cities [Minneapolis–Saint Paul] is a big enough market to support five major-league sports teams, I don’t see why it can’t support one major music festival, too.”

He added, “We’ll just have the two stages in the first year, and so you can only do so many genres, but we’ll cover adult-contemporary, rock, pop, some blues, a cool mix like that.”

Location: Medellín
Promoter: Breakfast Club/Tomorrowland
Dates: 11-12 May
Capacity: 10,000

Tomorrowland is taking its brand to the Colombian city of Medellín, with the help of local promoter Breakfast Club.
The EDM giant will transport its newly created CORE stage to Medellín’s botanical garden for the two-day event on 11 and 12 May. Built over the course of a year, the fully transportable stage is 17 metres high and 30 metres wide, and incorporates strobes, fog machines and fireworks fountains, among other features.

The state-of-the-art stage debuted in January at Tomorrowland Presents Core Tulum in Mexico, and is slated to ‘pop up around the globe’ over the coming year. In addition to Belgium, Colombia, and Mexico, Tomorrowland has also been exported to France and Brazil.

At Tomorrowland Presents Core Medellín, the structure will house performances from “the leading names” in house and techno. The new festival is supported by Breakfast Club, the decade-old promoter behind Medellín festivals Ritvales and La Solar Festival.

Location: Circuit of the Americas racetrack, Austin
Promoters: Tropicália and La Tocada
Date: 2 March
Capacity: TBC

Latin music festival Besame Mucho is expanding to the Texan music city of Austin, following two successful years in Los Angeles.

Tapping into a growing interest in Latin music, Besame Mucho’s first editions (both at Dodger Stadium) reportedly sold out in minutes. Capitalising on that demand, organisers have hired the Circuit of the Americas race circuit for its Texan debut, where more than 60 acts will perform across four stages.

Confirmed talent includes Los Tigres del Norte, Banda MS, Grupo Frontera, La Ley, Caifanes, El Tri, Alejandra Guzmán, Gloria Trevi, Café Tacvba, and Molotov.

With tickets priced between $275 for general admission and $950 for platinum, organisers revealed that the first Texan edition of the festival sold out within hours of going on sale on 3 November.

Location: Hangar at Regatta Harbour, Miami
Promoter: Montreux Jazz International
Dates: 1-3 March
Capacity: 1,500 per day

As one of the most recognised festival brands in the world, Montreux Jazz Festival has been taking its identity overseas since 1978, but will this year make its debut in Florida with a lineup that will include band leader Jon Batiste & Friends, Daryl Hall, and Brazilian sensation Daniela Mercury.

To recreate the intimacy of Montreux, the inaugural edition of Montreux Jazz Festival Miami will be hosted in the 1,500-capacity Hangar venue in the city’s upscale Coconut Grove district. The historic seaplane hangar will be the centrepiece of the three-day event, which will also offer guests curated dining options from some of Miami’s best chefs and restaurants.

A second stage in the outdoor VIP area will be used for sunset concerts by emerging artists, while the parent festival’s legendary Montreux Jam Session will be recreated each night, bringing together some of the talent for unique collaborations.

Single-day tickets are priced at $219 for general admission, while three-day VIP passes start at $1,999.

Montreux first went international in 1978 with the São Paulo Festival in Brazil, and has since granted licences for Detroit (1980), Atlanta (1986), Tokyo (1998), Monaco (2001), Rio de Janeiro (2019), and Hangzou (2021).

Location: Expo City Dubai
Promoter: Untold
Dates: 15-18 February
Capacity: 70,000 per night

Dubai is set to gain its own edition of Untold, which is being touted locally as the biggest festival the city has ever seen.

Launched in Romania in 2015, the event has become one of the largest festivals in Europe, with a capacity of around 100,000, thanks to performances from artists including Imagine Dragons, Robbie Williams, Major Lazer, J Balvin, The Script, Jason Derulo, and Ellie Goulding, while DJs including David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, The Chainsmokers, Axwell, and Hardwell have also delivered sets.

Superstar DJ Armin van Buuren is partnering with the festival’s promoters to bring the event to the Gulf state, while more than 100 acts are apparently being lined up to populate the schedule across at least five stages.

Festival co-founder Edy Chereji says, “Dubai is one of the top tourism destinations in the world. We have an amazing site over there, and by working with our stakeholders, we hope to create something that will be the next big icon for Dubai and bring more tourists to this great city.”

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Promoter: Southern Entertainment
Dates: 3-5 May
Capacity: 25,000-30,000

Post Malone, Stevie Nicks, and Noah Kahan are slated to headline the inaugural edition of Lovin’ Life music festival in North Carolina this May.

The three-day event will take place in the city’s downtown N Brevard Street site, adjacent to the Spectrum Center arena, with 40 artists performing across three stages.

Lovin’ Life is being organised by Southern Entertainment – a Charlotte-based promoter behind music festivals such as Carolina Country Music Fest in South Carolina and the Barefoot Country Music Fest in New Jersey.

“After producing events all over the East Coast, we’ve dreamt of bringing a major music festival to Charlotte, and the Lovin’ Life Music Fest is our passion project,” says Bob Durkin, co-founder and partner of Southern Entertainment.

“We’re thrilled to support the ongoing effort to make our hometown of Charlotte a music city in such a big way.”

Tickets for the festival range from $269 for three-day general admission to $1,199 for three-day Super VIP. lovinlifemusicfest.com


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US fest lineups: Gov Ball, New Orleans, MJF Miami

It has been a busy week for festival announcements in the United States, with a host of events joining Coachella in revealing their 2024 lineups.

Coachella, which takes place from 12-14 and 19-21 April at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, unveiled Lana Del Rey, Tyler, the Creator, Doja Cat and the reunited No Doubt as this year’s headliners.

Elsewhere, New York’s Governors Ball is set for Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens during New York’s Music Month on 7-9 June, when it will be headlined by SZA, Post Malone, and The Killers. Also confirmed are 21 Savage, Dominic Fike, Carly Rae Jepsen, Reneé Rapp, Labrinth, Sabrina Carpenter and Don Toliver, alongside an expanded presence of Latin music with artists such as Peso Pluma, Rauw Alejandro and Farruko.

Gov Ball will also welcome festival debut performances from Victoria Monét, Sexyy Red, TV Girl, Goth Babe, Alex G, Jessie Murph, Teezo Touchdown, Tyla and Kevin Abstract, among others.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is adding an extra day to expand to eight days in 2024, creating two equal four-day weekends from 25-28 April and 2-5 May. Held at the historic Fair Grounds Race Course, it will be topped by the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Chris Stapleton, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Killers, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Hozier and Jon Batiste.

Other acts include Queen Latifah, Vampire Weekend, Greta Van Fleet, Heart, Widespread Panic, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Bonnie Raitt, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Beach Boys and Joe Bonamassa.

“Miami naturally lends itself to the musical diversity that Montreux has become synonymous with”

Elsewhere, the inaugural Montreux Jazz Festival Miami, which premieres on 1-3 March, at The Hangar in Coconut Grove, Florida, has announced a fresh batch of artists.

The maiden three-day event will feature headline performances from event co-owner and ambassador Jon Batiste, plus Daniela Mercury, Daryl Hall and latest addition Seu Jeorge. Also added to the bill are Israel Houghton, Cécile McLorin Salvant, The Wailers, Rogét Chahayed and Cimafunk.

In an effort to recreate the “singular intimacy” of Montreux, Switzerland, the Miami festival will take place in The Hangar, a 1,500-cap waterfront venue that was once a World War I naval air station. The festival programming will include music masterclasses and the Legendary Montreux Jam Sessions.

“As a city of cultural connection, Miami naturally lends itself to the musical diversity that Montreux has become synonymous with,” says Mathieu Jaton, CEO of Montreux Jazz Festival. “We believe that the waterfront location and the artists performing in this first edition are a true reflection of the original Montreux Jazz Festival experience.”

Meanwhile, the 13th edition of Hangout Music Festival is scheduled for Gulf Shores, Alabama from 17-19 May. Its eclectic lineup is headed by Zach Bryan, Lana Del Rey and ODESZA, with other acts to include The Chainsmokers, Cage The Elephant, Dominic Fike, Reneé Rapp, Jessie Murph, Subtronics, Dom Dolla, A Day To Remember, Doechii, Nelly, Koe Wetzel, Alison Wonderland, Megan Moroney, Sexyy Red, NLE Choppa and All Time Low.


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