by Martina Fuchs
MONTREUX, Switzerland, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The iconic Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland is bracing for its 57th edition this summer, aiming to promote the next generation of musicians and preparing the stage for its second event in China in the autumn, the festival's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mathieu Jaton told Xinhua recently.
The famous summer music event will be back in full swing on the shores of Lake Geneva featuring more than 500 concerts and activities from June 30 to July 15.
Last year, a record 250,000 festivalgoers enjoyed the live music event after two years of absence due to the pandemic. The program included more than 500 concerts and the fill rate was close to 85 percent, according to the organizers.
Jaton said he expected similar figures for this year's edition. "We also have 10 or 11 free stages, where we expect 150,000 visitors. In total, we are forecasting about 230,000 to 250,000 visitors during the 16 days, which is quite impressive."
"Where Legends Are Born" is the slogan of the festival, which was created in 1967 by Claude Nobs and takes place for two weeks every summer.
Nestled between the Alps and Switzerland's largest body of water, Montreux has hosted iconic performances by music legends, such as Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, and Stevie Wonder.
Jaton emphasized that the goal was not only to showcase pioneers of the sixties and seventies, classics of blues and jazz, pop icons and legends but also stars in the making.
Since the 1970s, the festival has exported its savoir-faire, heritage and atmosphere to various cities around the world, with editions in Sao Paulo, Detroit, Atlanta, Singapore, Monaco, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.
In addition to Montreux Jazz Cafes, "Spotlight" events, and "Autumn of Music" activities, Jaton said he planned more international editions in cities such as Abu Dhabi and Miami going forward.
In 2021, the festival debuted in Hangzhou, China's Zhejiang Province, under the theme "Where East Meets West."
"I'm so excited for this second edition. The festival's China team did an amazing job organizing a very small-scale festival in 2021 due to the pandemic," he said.
"Since then, they have created a lot of digital content and now we are back with a real festival."
The second event will be held in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.
"The Chinese market will be a very important market for music in the future," Jaton said. "For our brand, to be represented so well in China is very important. I'm very excited about the location of Suzhou because it is also by a lake, like Montreux."
"The Montreux Jazz Festival in China was created to build bridges between East and West. It's a long-term work to strengthen collaboration from a tourist, economic, and cultural perspective," Jaton said.