Montreux Jazz Festival
The Montreux Jazz Festival is the best-known music festival in Switzerland. It is held annually in early July in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva.
In 1967, the first Montreux Jazz Festival opened its doors. The festival lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists. The highlights of this era were Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Originally a pure jazz festival, it opened up in the 1970s and today presents artists of nearly every imaginable music style. Jazz remains an important part of the festival. Today's festival lasts about two weeks and attracts an audience of more than 200,000 people.
In the 1970s, the festival began broadening its scope, including blues, soul, and rock artists. In December 1971, the Casino burned down, and the festival was forced to move until the new Casino was ready in 1975.
Towards the end of the decade, the festival expanded even more, including music from all continents (with an emphasis on Brazilian music) and lasting a full three weeks. Santana came to Montreux for the first time in 1970; Van Morrison played in 1974. Other artists included Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, Stan Getz, Airto Moreira, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Charles Mingus, Etta James, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Gilberto Gil, Ray Charles, James Booker, Hermeto Pascoal, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many more.