With truly outstanding weather conditions, this 2015 edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival will most likely remain long in the memories of many festivalgoers. Mathieu Jaton, the festival director, described the 49th edition which ended on July 18th as a dream with audiences and artists equally enthusiastic.
The Montreux Jazz Festival is not just one more music festival. The archives of the festival are so important that it is now on the UNESCO « Memory of the world » register. The town doubles its population during the festival. Most events take place by the lake and the lakeside promenade has a fantastic evening atmosphere as music bursts from different stages, temporary restaurants sit over the lake and people bustle past the street food and watch the free bands in the parks.
There are straightforward sets by international stars, but Montreux forges connections between artists with never-seen-before duets and collaborations. The headline act of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga were in perfect harmony and blew crowds away with their 100-minute non-stop show. The sold-out crowd lapped up the classy performance, and gave the biggest cheer for Gaga’s rendition of Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose.
Carlos Santana, a true Montreux icon and returned this year for his 13th edition, accompanied by John McLaughlin. At 67, Santana shows no signs of slowing down and put on a blistering display of his trademark face-melting solos, while remaining as cool and composed as expected from the veteran guitar hero.
The eclectic music offer also included musicians like Lionel Ritchie, Georges Benson, Sinéad O’Connor, Emeli Sandé, Caro Emerald or the Chemical Brothers.
The festival organisers said preparations were already well underway for next year’s 50th anniversary taking place from July 1st to 16th.