Montreux Jazz Festival gets back into the swing

Montreux Jazz Festival gets back into the swing

Montreux Jazz Festival gets back into the swing

The Montreux Jazz Festival is to return this summer promising a “dizzying panorama of sound” after two years muted by the pandemic, with Diana Ross, Bjork, Stormzy and Herbie Hancock in the line-up unveiled on April 13.

The 56th festival, from July 1 to 16 in the idyllic town on Lake Geneva, is turning to old friends and some new faces from the world of pop, rap, jazz and rock to get the show back up and running.

“After two editions of enforced silence, the two emblematic halls of the festival will finally be able to give the public and the artists the thrill of live performance again,” organizers said.

For more than half a century, Montreux has been a magnet for big names in the music business, as well as for rising stars. It has retained its jazz label despite dramatically expanding its repertoire since the first edition in 1967.

The 2020 festival was cancelled outright due to COVID-19, while the 2021 event was dramatically scaled down, featuring a small stage 25 meters (80 feet) out on the lake, opposite a grandstand holding 500 spectators.

The 2022 program, “dense and bursting with color, once again combines the timeless with the spirit of the times,” organizers said.

Norwegian synth-pop trio a-ha are the opening night’s act in the 4,000-capacity Auditorium Stravinski, with the first weekend also featuring Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds followed by Icelandic songstress Bjork with the Sinfonietta de Lausanne.

John Legend, Paolo Nutini, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Diana Ross, the Alan Parsons Live Project, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Van Morrison Jeff Beck and Eurovision-winning Italian rockers Maneskin are also set to star on the main stage.

Meanwhile, the all-standing 2,000-capacity Montreux Jazz Lab will feature The Smile, a new project by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood, and British rapper Stormzy.

The festival will be closed by jazz piano great Hancock, 82, and Jamie Cullum.

Motown idol Ross is making her Montreux debut at 78, while Bjork is returning for the first time in 24 years as she releases her 10th album.

“This 2022 edition has a special flavor. First of all because, like the world of culture in general, it is a sign that life is getting back on track,” said the festival’s chief executive Mathieu Jaton.

“We are all emerging from this crisis in different ways; some bruised, some stronger, some weakened, some hardened. But let us not forget that a festival is above all a moment of sharing and celebration.”