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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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Kanye, Bieber, Will Smith perform at Coachella

The second and final weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival came to a close on Sunday 21 April, with Kanye West hosting an Easter “Sunday Service” and Justin Bieber making a return to the stage after a lengthy hiatus.

The 2019 edition of Goldenvoice’s Coachella (125,000-cap.) has now come to an end, following two consecutive weekends of live music and surprise appearances in the Californian desert.

Kanye West hosted a performance on the closing Sunday of the event as part of his series of Sunday Service performances – invite-only sessions in which the rapper performs alongside a gospel choir in secret locations.

Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi and DMX joined West for the performance atop a hill, some miles away from the main festival site.

Another surprise performance came in the form of Justin Bieber, who joined Ariana Grande on stage for a rendition of his 2015 single ‘Sorry’. The Canadian singer also used the performance to hint at the release of a new album.

The 2019 edition of Coachella has come to an end, following two weekends of live music and surprise appearances in the Californian desert

Will Smith also appeared on the Coachella stage, joining his son Jaden Smith for a performance of the rapper’s song ‘Icon’.

Weekend one of the festival saw Grande break records as Coachella’s youngest-ever headliner, Childish Gambino pay tribute to Mac Miller, the debut of a state-of-the-art augmented reality experience and the introduction of Amazon lockers to the festival.

California’s Empire Polo Club has hosted Coachella since its inaugural edition which took place over two days in 1999. The festival later added its second weekend in 2012.

A 2018 lawsuit filed against Coachella’s radius clause, which forbids acts from playing other North American festivals for five months around the festival, was dismissed last month.

The dates for next year’s Coachella are yet to be announced.