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Montreux Jazz Fest chief maps out expansion plans

Montreux Jazz Festival CEO Mathieu Jaton has told IQ of his global ambitions for the brand following the Swiss institution’s most-well attended edition yet.

Held from 1-16 July, the festival’s 56th edition attracted an estimated 250,000 fans for a bill comprising over 450 free events, along with 70 paying concerts by headliners including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bjork, John Legend, Maneskin, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Van Morrison, Stormzy and Diana Ross.

“It was totally amazing, what a comeback! Everything was perfect from beginning to end,” says Jaton. “The weather was exceptional, tickets sales were better than ever and the number of people coming onsite for all the free activities was amazing.

“We had a lot of concerns before the festival about having to cancel due to Covid, but nothing happened. When you have 550 different shows with 3,000 musicians and everybody is on stage, we can call that a miracle.”

A number of artists deviated from their usual setlists to perform special shows for Montreux. Stormzy delivered a one-off anthological gospel-rap performance “because it’s the Montreux Jazz Festival”. Elsewhere, The Smile played new six-minute song Bending Hectic, composed at the festival earlier that day, which continued the tradition of tracks being created in Montreux, from Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water to Prince’s Lavaux.

“It was very clear that 2022 should not be a copy and paste of what we were doing in 2019”

“It’s very interesting for me that after 56 years, the DNA and tradition of Montreux being a bubble of creativity – a place where artists can create and do something special – [is still intact],” says Jaton. “These moments are key, because they are writing the next pages of the history of Montreux.”

The festival – founded in 1967 by the legendary Claude Nobs – entered into a partnership with TikTok on new music initiative MJF Spotlight, which was launched in 2021 to support emerging artists and new music with original content creation and live performances.

“That partnership is very important strategically,” notes Jaton. “We’ve made a lot of effort with the creation of our media company Montreux Media Ventures to regenerate the audience, and that’s what we did. We had brand new artists playing on the free stages and attracting a new audience, and that’s an investment in the future.

“I’m very happy to say that 60% of [festival attendees] are loyal visitors who have been coming for a lot of years, but 40% are brand new visitors and it is very important to have both.”

MJF’s 2020 edition was replaced by a 16-day YouTube event, Summer of Music, while last year’s MJF went ahead in a reimagined, Covid-secure format, with maximum of 600 people able to watch performances on the main stage from seats on the Lake Geneva shoreline. Continuing the hybrid physical/digital format debuted in 2021, 30 shows from this year’s programme were also livestreamed.

This year’s revamped event also integrated features such as the new Lake House venue, which combined cultural and artistic experiences in eight rooms across three floors in the Petit Palais.

“For me, it was very clear that 2022 should not be a copy and paste of what we were doing in 2019,” explains Jaton. “We took all the knowledge we accumulated from the last two years and 2022 was the closing of the circle of everything that we’ve created. So 2023 will definitely be a continuation of what we put in place in 2022, but there will be more innovation to come.”

“We are full of ideas to extend the Montreux brand all around the world”

Jaton also opens up on plans to strengthen Montreux Jazz Festival as an all-year-round brand, and teases the possibility of a winter spin-off.

“We will push the button a little bit further, continuing the brand recognition of Montreux 365 days a year with Autumn of Music [festival] in the autumn, with maybe a festival in winter next February, and then the Montreux Jazz Festival in the summer, of course. We are full of ideas to extend the Montreux brand all around the world.”

International festivals will also be held under the MJF umbrella in China, Tokyo and Brazil in the coming months.

“We’re very excited,” adds Jaton. “The expansion of the Montreux brand worldwide is not something new because we had the Montreux Jazz Festival in Atlanta for 15 years,  in Detroit for 20 years, Tokyo for 10 years, Singapore, Monaco, Sao Paulo… We also had the Montreux Jazz Cafe in Harrods for four years in London, and  we also have a cafe that will be in Singapore.

“China, of course, is a brand new market for music, which is very interesting for us. So the goal for us is to have brand recognition worldwide.”

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Johnny Depp to perform with Jeff Beck at Montreux

Montreux Jazz Festival has announced that Johnny Depp will join Jeff Beck on stage at the 56th edition of the Swiss music festival.

The event runs from 1-16 July, with Beck’s performance already confirmed for Auditorium Stravinski stage on Friday 15 July.

Depp has joined Beck for several performances on his latest UK tour, amid the culmination of the former’s well publicised defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp and Beck have released their first single as a duo, Isolation ahead of an upcoming album they have been working on together, which is due for release this summer.

Depp previously performed at Montreux in 2018 as part of the Hollywood Vampires supergroup he formed alongside Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

Other acts billed for this year’s event include Diana Ross, Stormzy, Björk, Sam Ryder, Nick Cave and The Smile.


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Montreux Jazz Fest reveals NFT artwork collection

Montreux Jazz Festival’s media subsidiary has revealed details of its first NFT artwork collection.

Montreux Media Ventures has partnered with green Web3 company OneOf on the collection, which will feature the works of Montreux Jazz Festival alumni artists, who have designed previous versions of the festival poster.

The NFT collections include London-based designer Camille Walala and French artist Greg Guillemin. Versions of each artist’s artwork will be made available for NFT purchase from 29 April via OneOf’s platform, including a free version of Camille Walala’s 2022 poster design, with unlimited editions claimable before this year’s festival closes on 16 July. The design for Walala’s poster was unveiled last year to mark the 56th edition of the event.

“NFTs will offer us the opportunity to support and collaborate more closely with artists in a more sustainable way”

“Innovation has always been at the heart of the Montreux Jazz Festival,” says Nick Bonard, CEO of Montreux Media Ventures. “We are very excited that this new partnership with OneOf will bring Web3 technology to the heart of the festival, as NFTs will offer us the opportunity to support and collaborate more closely with artists in a more sustainable way.”

Montreux Jazz Festival returns to the Lake Geneva shoreline this summer from 1-16 July. For its 50th anniversary in 2016, Guillemin was invited by the festival to create 60 pop-art interpretive portraits of the musicians who played that year. This year, he has reprised that style for the NFT artwork collection, presenting five portraits of artists from this year’s line-up including Diana Ross, John Legend, Arlo Parks, Ashnikko and Woodkid.

Each of Guillemin’s five NFTs are priced at $20 and will be limited to 500 editions.

Montreux Media Ventures has partnered with OneOf to deliver the environmentally sustainable NFT art collection for fans. Minted on the Tezos blockchain, a Montreux Jazz Festival NFT created by the OneOf’s platform is said to use two million times less energy than other proof-of-work networks. OneOf has recently partnered with the Grammy Awards, iHeart Media, and Warner Music Group.

“The Montreux Jazz Festival has a special place in my heart as my all-time favourite live music experience,” says Adam Fell, co-founder of Oneof and president of Quincy Jones Productions, “We are honoured to be their partner in reaching even more music fans bringing cutting edge web3 technology to this iconic festival, sharing the beautiful festival artwork that Camille and Greg created for this season as NFTs for the first time.”

Montreux Media Ventures aims to create a long-term, sustainable model around NFTs. Starting with the event’s posters and artwork, the project will then move on to include experiential packages and eventually a financing tool for young emerging artists.


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Montreux Jazz Festival partners with TikTok

Montreux Jazz Festival has announced a UK and European partnership with TikTok for the festival’s new music initiative, MJF Spotlight.

Launched in 2021, MJF Spotlight was created to support emerging artists and new music with original content creation and live performances. MJF Spotlight will release a series of live performances under the name The Road To Montreux, showcasing emerging acts, as part of the partnership.

TikTok has also been named an official partner for the 2022 edition of the legendary Swiss festival, which returns to the Lake Geneva shoreline for its 56th edition from 1-16 July. TikTok will collaborate with the festival’s talent team to identify the most promising rising stars and provide them with a platform to reach new audiences.

The Road To Montreux will feature six live showcases throughout the year that will be livestreamed via TikTok and on Montreux’s own channels. The showcases will be filmed in Zurich, with stops in Berlin, Hamburg, and London, before ending at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Additionally, Montreux will offer artists from MJF Spotlight the opportunity to perform on the MJF Spotlight stage at the 2022 festival.

“Our passion is enabling artists of any genre take their music and passion to the next level”

“Artist discovery starts on TikTok and at Montreux Jazz Festival,” says Michael Kümmerle, TikTok’s head of music operations Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “Same as for MJF, our passion is enabling emerging artists of any genre take their music and passion to the next level. We cannot wait to see how the next rising stars will be unleashing the interactive potential of TikTok LIVE or create entertaining content to inspire new and existing fans.”

Each month, MJF Spotlight supports one specially selected artist with exclusive digital content and live shows internationally. Previous MJF Spotlight artists have included the likes of Priya Ragu, who released two live music videos from 2021 festival performance, as well as a two-track live EP via DSPs.

MJF Spotlight is organised through the festival’s subsidiary media company Montreux Media Ventures (MMV). Launched in 2019, MMV was created to evolve the festival from an annual event into a sustainable company by creating quality content all year round.

“Like TikTok, we are passionate about music,” says MMV CEO Nick Bonard. “Leveraging the festival’s legacy of supporting young artists, MJF Spotlight offers new talent a physical and digital platform to showcase their music to new audiences. Together, TikTok and MJF Spotlight can supercharge the process of artist discovery through entertaining and engaging content. We are very excited to find new artists to highlight through MJF Spotlight this year.”


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Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 to go ahead

The 55th Montreux Jazz Festival will go ahead this July in a reimagined, Covid-secure format, organisers announced today (31 March).

In a first, Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 will take partially on Lake Geneva, with maximum of 600 people able to watch performances on the main stage from seats on the lake shoreline. Three other stages with a smaller capacity, located in the event spaces and gardens of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace hotel, will also host live music performances, alongside jam sessions, workshops and other events.

Through a previously announced deal with livestreaming platform Qello Concerts, performances from the physical festival will also be made available in a digital format free of charge.

On the ground, artists will perform on four stages, the largest of which, the aforementioned Lake (Lac) stage, will be built atop Lake Geneva, 25 metres from the shore and have a seated capacity of 600. The second stage, the 300-seat Petit Théâtre, located in the grand Salle des Fêtes at the Montreux Palace, will showcase “jazz fused with different influences, with a fresh and contemporary feel”.

The free-to-access Grand Hall will focus on artists affiliated with the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation, while the similarly open-to-all Gardens will feature acoustic performances, DJ sets, a cocktail bar and food stalls.

“Our stages’ capacities will be even smaller, which will create an exceptional streaming experience for international audiences who can’t come to the festival”

The Lake stage, in particular, was a long-time dream of festival founder Claude Nobs, who passed away in 2013. “In a year when everything seems impossible, we wanted to do Claude Nobs proud and channel his favourite saying, ’Nothing is impossible’,” say organisers.

MJF’s announcement it is forging ahead follows a raft of recent festival cancellations in Switzerland.

Mathieu Jaton, CEO of Montreux Jazz Festival, says: “We are thrilled to unveil our brand-new format for this year’s festival, which pursues our hybrid model strategy. Montreux Jazz Festival has always been about creating very special concerts where artists can feel up close and personal with their fans while sharing these unique moments worldwide through audiovisual content.”

Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 stages

The format of the 55th MJF will evolve based on the public health situation in consultation with the local and national authorities, says the festival, while contact tracing will be required for each festival zone (the Montreux Palace, Lake stage area and the Gardens). It will not, however, be necessary to reserve places for the free activities and zones, which will remain open until they reach maximum capacity.

“This year, our stages’ capacities will be even smaller due to Covid-19 restrictions, which will create an exceptional streaming experience for international audiences who can’t come to the festival,” adds Jaton. “The content will be especially breathtaking from our new stage built above the water on Lake Geneva, with the Alps in the background.”


Line-up and ticket information for Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 will be released in the coming weeks.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Montreux Jazz Festival goes hybrid with Qello deal

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 Swiss festival, whose 2020 edition was replaced by a 16-day YouTube event, Summer of Music, has struck an exclusive deal with Canadian company Stingray to make all sets available to watch free of charge anywhere in the world. In addition, all future editions of Montreux Jazz Festival will be streamed via Stingray’s Qello Concerts platform, which already has access to around 50 historical Montreux performances, including Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, Deep Purple and Marvin Gaye.

The festival is expected to announce details about its 2021 edition, as well as new deals and partnerships which will “further futureproof” the event, in the coming weeks. MJF 2021 is provisionally scheduled for 2–17 July,

Commenting on the Stingray partnership, Nick Bonard, CEO of Montreux Media Ventures, says: “Our deal with Qello Concerts by Stingray to livestream the festival is a key part of our hybrid model, creating an always-on experience. Streaming is a crucial medium for securing the continued success of the festival: if people can’t come to the festival, we will bring it to them.

“If people can’t come to the festival, we will bring it to them”

“This deal will enable us to adapt and respond more nimbly to the key challenges facing the sector while generating support for the true lifeblood of the Montreux Jazz Festival – bold new talent – for many more years to come.”

In related Montreux news, the festival has announced the launch of MJF Spotlight, a new-music brand that will support up-and-coming talent through digital content, including recorded live sessions, special events and a Spotify playlist, and a showcase night at the festival itself.

“The lack of concerts and festivals has a severe impact on the emergence of new artists. At Montreux Jazz Festival, hundreds of up-and-coming talent usually perform each summer on our various stages,” says Mathieu Jaton, CEO Montreux Jazz Festival. “With the launch of MJF Spotlight, we will now be able to promote new talent throughout the year on our digital channels, independently of the festival line-up.

“This initiative brings together our booking team’s competence, Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation’s support to emerging talent and Montreux Media Ventures’ digital content expertise.”


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Montreux Jazz Festival to launch China edition

Renowned Swiss event Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) is set to launch a new edition in China next year with a programme that’ll explore the theme of ‘when west meets east’.

The schedule will combine Chinese and Asian music as well as jazz, which has been enjoying a new lease of life in the country in recent years.

The new edition is due to take place between 5–8 October 2021 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and will be the Swiss event’s third international partner alongside Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

“The Montreux Jazz Festival is a legendary event, revered by music lovers from all over the world. I played there for the first time in 1982 and today, 40 years later, I have the honour of being the musical director of the festival in China,” says Ted Lo, musical director of the MJF China.

“After Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, we are pursuing our journey of mutual cultural and musical exchange in China”

“We are delighted to welcome Hangzhou and the passionate team of MJF China into the great MJF family,” added CEO of the MFJ Mathieu Jaton. “After Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, we are pursuing our journey of mutual cultural and musical exchange, values which have always been dear to MJF.”

The original festival in Montreux, Switzerland was founded by Claude Nobs in 1967 and has played host to artists including Etta James, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Ms Lauren Hill, Aretha Franklin and David Bowie.

This year, in light of the pandemic, MJF held a 16-day virtual music festival showcasing iconic Montreux performances from festivals past to mark what would have been its 54th edition.

MJF is due to hold four editions of the renowned festival in 2021: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the end of spring; the flagship festival in Montreux, Switzerland (2–17 July); Tokyo, Japan in the autumn; and finally Hangzhou, China.

Read IQ‘s feature on how MJF has softened the impact of Covid-19 by diversifying into digital content and live programming for its partners here.


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IQ Focus: The Top 10 sessions so far

Since launching IQ Focus, a weekly series of livestreamed panels that debuted in May, we’ve been inviting heavyweights from the international live music business to discuss issues ranging from the trials and tribulations of a pandemic to the systemic racism brought to light by Blackout Tuesday, and everything in between.

But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom. The Innovation Session, for example, heard panellists discuss the flurry of innovation, fledgeling business models, and new ideas that have come out of the coronavirus crisis. Staying Safe & Sane During Covid presented expert opinions on how to protect the mental health and wellbeing of music professionals and artists. What all these sessions have had in common is a sense of optimism, opportunity and determination, as our industry forges ahead into the unknown.

This week we’re taking some time off from IQ Focus, but in the meantime, please enjoy our top ten sessions from the past couple of months and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive notifications about future IQ Focus sessions.


1. Festival Forum: Here Comes ’21

Hosted by ILMC head Greg Parmley, a panel comprising Europe’s festival elite discuss the collapse of this year’s festival season, as well as predictions for the next. Jim King (AEG Presents), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio), Rachael Greenfield (Bloodstock Open Air), Anders Wahren (Roskilde Festival) and Mathieu Jaton (Montreux Jazz Festival) update us on how they’re coping in unprecedented circumstances; what lessons have been learned, which challenges have been faced and crucially, what the road to recovery looks like.


2. The Agency Business: 3.0

The Covid-19 crisis has presented significant challenges for both multinational agencies and boutique outfits. From juggling investors to dealing with a hiatus from touring, agencies are being forced to reflect on how their companies are structured and seek new opportunities and creative solutions. ILMC head and session chair Greg Parmley asks an all-star panel, what comes next? Guest speakers include Angus Baskerville, (13 Artists) Jules de Lattre (United Talent Agency), Maria May (Creative Artists Agency) and Tom Schroeder (Paradigm Talent Agency).


3. The Venue’s Venue: Building Back

For IQ‘s third focus session, John Langford, COO of AEG Europe, invites leading venue professionals to discuss strategies for weathering the storm, what the key learnings have been so far, and what emerging from life under lockdown might look like. Guest speakers include Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall / National Arena Association – UK), Olivier Toth (Rockhal / European Arena Association – Luxembourg), Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions – Germany), Tom Lynch (ASM Global – UK), Lotta Nibell (GOT Event – Sweden).


4. The Innovation Session

While the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 continues to resonate throughout live music, the halt in normal business is seeing a flurry of innovation, fledgeling business models, and new ideas. From an explosion in livestreaming to virtual performances and meet & greets, 3D venues, gaming and tipping, what green shoots are rising from this current situation? Mike Malak, senior agent at Paradigm Talent Agency chairs our fourth IQ Focus session and invites a line-up of free-thinkers and ground-breakers.


5. The State of Independence: Promoters

Across the touring world, independent promoters face similar challenges when looking ahead to business post-Covid-19. While this current period presents many unique challenges for this creative and entrepreneurial sector, it’s one of many pressures they face. So what’s the state of play in Europe, South America and India? And what alternative show formats, and business models are independent promoters adopting to stay ahead? CAA’s Emma Banks hosts the session to ask, as the industry emerges from its current crisis, where the opportunities might lie?


6. Festival Forum: The Next Stage

We’re midway through what would have been this year’s festival season, and it’s a summer like no other. But are we midway through the crisis, or is there still further to go before the festival sector can confidently progress into 2021? With a number of Government support packages in place, and much of this year’s line ups transplanted to next year, how confident are promoters feeling about next year, and are artists and audiences ready to return? IQ editor Gordon Masson hosts this discussion with guest speakers including Cindy Castillo (Mad Cool Festival – ES), John Giddings (Isle of Wight Festival / Solo Agency – UK), Stefan Lehmkuhl (Goodlive – DE), Codruta Vulcu (ARTmania Festival – RO).


7. Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis

One of the hardest-hit areas of the business, grassroots music venues may well also be the first to emerge from the current crisis over the coming weeks and months. Across Europe, the fate of these vital stages on which talent is born and grown, is mixed, with some facing closure. How are our small venues being protected by the organisations and industry around them, and what still needs to be done? And once their doors are open again, how different will gig going be?


8. Beyond Rhetoric: Race in Live Music

Blackout Tuesday brought the industry to a standstill and thrust the topic of diversity in the music business back into view. So just what challenges do black promoters, agents and managers face, and what’s needed to counter systemic racism both within the business, in performance spaces and touring markets? Our next IQ Focus session will ask how changes can be made, and the current momentum can be maintained over the months and years ahead.


9. IQ Focus & The MMF Present: Managing The Crisis

With the bulk of artists dependent on live music revenue and audience connection, the Covid-19 crisis has decimated livelihoods. But what does it mean for their managers – the individuals thrown into salvaging campaigns, rescheduling tours, interpreting contractual changes and navigating the most uncertain of futures? How are their own businesses faring? And what do they see as the challenges – and hopefully opportunities – ahead for the live sector, in what we are all optimistically calling the “new normal”.


10. Staying Safe & Sane During Covid

Staying Safe & Sane During Covid considered how to best protect the mental health and wellbeing of music professionals and artists alike who are juggling disruption to working conditions, employment & financial concerns, a difficult global outlook and more. Chaired by Stacey Pragnell at ATC Live, the conversation featured Lollapalooza Berlin promoter Stefan Lehmkuhl (Goodlive), MITC founder Tamsin Embleton, tour manager Andy Franks (Music Support) and the CEO of mental health and wellbeing festival Getahead, Jenni Cochrane.


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Montreux Media head on futureproofing the festival

Music festivals must diversify their business model beyond simply staging events if they are to thrive during periods of crisis, Montreux Media Ventures CEO Nicolas Bonard has told IQ.

Montreux Media Ventures (MMV) – the media and content division of Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, launched last year – has enabled Montreux to earn some revenue throughout the pandemic, and sustain its partnerships with clients and brands, even as nearly every festival worldwide fell by the wayside, says Bonard.

“I think this is a time when Montreux Media Ventures has really come into its own,” explains Bonard (pictured), who joined Montreux from Vice Media France at the start of 2019.

Bonard says the “genesis of the idea goes back a few years”, when festival bosses started to consider how they could futureproof what was, up until then, solely an “event business”.

“Because the festival is a foundation, we had to create a new entity to drive that event and hospitality business into something closer to a media company,” he explains. “That meant embracing digital and diversifying all our lines of revenue.”

Of course, the official launch of Montreux Media Ventures (MMV) at the tail end of last year – just as Covid-19 took root in China – couldn’t have come at a better time for the festival, which was forced to pull its 2020 edition as the pandemic hit Europe.

“The whole point of MMV is to diversify our sources of revenue so we can mitigate the revenue risk of a festival”

“It was all planned,” jokes Bonard, who describes how the festival has been able to use MMV revenues to soften the financial blow of cancelling Montreux 2020.

“Through some of the incremental revenue we generated through these [MMV] actions, we’ve been able to cushion the impact of Covid,” he explains (albeit not entirely, as it’s “a big hit”).

With MMV, the festival team is able to “leverage the huge audiovisual archive we have and bring those performances back to life”, continues Bonard – a mission exemplified by this month’s Summer of Music, a 16-day virtual festival that draws on performances from Montreux Jazz Festivals across the past five decades.

This takes the form of digital, streamed content (the festival already sold DVDs and vinyl LPs of historic Montreux performances), as well as custom live programming for selected brand partners, such as the Fairmont Hotel Group, for which MMV organised the recent ‘Fairmont World Tour’.

Both of these strands build on the three traditional sources of revenue for Montreux, as well as music festivals more generally: tickets, sponsorship and food and beverage, says Bonard.

He explains: “The whole point [of Montreux Media Ventures] is to diversify our sources of revenue so we can mitigate the revenue risk of a festival, where everything is just focused on those two weeks.”

“Through some of the incremental revenue we generated, we’ve been able to cushion the impact of Covid”

At present, MMV’s digital events, such as Summer of Music, are primarily “about giving back” to the music community rather than trying to turn a profit, says Bonard. (All MMV’s YouTube advertising profits for that event are being donated to the new National Museum of African-American Music in Nashville.)

However, in a few years’ time Bonard expects Media Ventures revenues to represent 25–30% of the group’s overall income, “if not more”, he says, such is the strength of the Montreux brand and archive.

“I don’t think one will replace the other,” he comments. “Because music is so emotional and personal, you’ll always need that physical contact with the artist or band. So, in my view, physical events will continue to reign supreme.”

“The future,” he adds, is in “hybrid” events, with “technology coming in and amplifying the live experience. Digital will come on top of it and augment the show, but nothing can replace that common experience with other fans.”

Future MMV projects include films, documentaries and podcasts, as well as another Fairmont tour when the Covid threat has passed.

“The festival has an incredible asset with these archives,” concludes Bonard, “and this is about amplifying them around the world.”


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Montreux launches virtual Summer of Music festival

Montreux Jazz Festival has announced Summer of Music, a 16-day virtual music festival, to mark what would have been its 54th edition on 3–18 July.

Showcasing iconic Montreux performances from festivals past, including Nina Simone (1976), Etta James (1993) and Carlos Santana (2004), Summer of Music will air exclusively on YouTube on the same dates, with one broadcast a day across the 16-day period.

Other streams scheduled for Summer of Music – an initiative of Montreux Jazz Festival, its subsidiary Montreux Media Ventures, and music film distributor/producer Eagle Rock Entertainment – include several world premieres, including John Lee Hooker (1983) and Charles Bradley (2006).

Mathieu Jaton, CEO of the Swiss festival, comments: “Since its beginnings in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has been immensely fortunate to have built up, thanks to the visionary spirit of [founder] Claude Nobs, a rich and unique audiovisual archive.

“This heritage has made the festival famous and continues to make it shine through initiatives such as the 54th Summer of Music, made possible through our collaboration with the Claude Nobs Foundation, Eagle Rock and the NMAAM. This summer, this heritage is more essential than ever.”

“This summer, Montreux’s heritage is more essential than ever”

All YouTube ad revenue from the festival will be donated to NMAAM, the National Museum of African American Music, in recognition of how Montreux has been shaped by the contribution of black artists, the festival says. Viewers will also be able to make donations to NMAAM, which is due to open in autumn 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson, vice-president of brand and partnerships for NMAAM, says: “Montreux is a titan in the popularisation of black music, not just in jazz but across genres, showcasing the wide-ranging impact of black music and black sounds. We look forward to what the Summer of Music event brings to fans and we hope for a continued friendship and partnership”

“Marvin Gaye’s 1980 performance marked the inaugural collaboration between Montreux and Eagle Rock Entertainment; it paved the way for not only an exciting stable of ongoing releases, but also a fantastic line-up of artists at this summer’s virtual Montreux Festival,” adds Geoff Kempin, executive director of Eagle Rock. “We are delighted to be partnering with the Montreux Jazz Festival and YouTube in this summer festival celebrating the diversity of artists that have performed at Montreux.”

Gaye’s 1980 Montreux set will close Summer of Music on Saturday 18 July. Other performers include Rory Gallagher (1979) on 7 July, Deep Purple (2011) on 11 July and the premiere of Tom Misch (2019) on 17 July.


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