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July 2013 Music Calendar

July 2013 Music Calendar

Calendar updated daily!

FESTIVALS

Celebrate Brooklyn!: One of New York City’s longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals. Launched in 1979, as a catalyst for Brooklyn’s performing arts scene and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, Celebrate Brooklyn has been an anchor in the park’s revitalization and has become one of the city’s foremost summer cultural attractions. Over the course of its history Celebrate Brooklyn has presented over 1,700 artists and ensembles reflective of the borough’s diversity, ranging from internationally acclaimed performers to emerging, cutting-edge artists.

Central Park’s Summer Stage: An annual, free performing arts summer festival founded in 1986 which takes place at Rumsey Play field in Manhattan, New York City’s Central Park and, since 2010, in parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

“In a city happily inundated with summertime cultural offerings, the SummerStage festival stands alone for its dizzying array of options, its local enthusiasm, and its general aura of awe. This year spreads more than 100 free performances across 17 parks in all five boroughs.” The New York Times

Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival (New York, NY): Calling all jazz fans! The third annual Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival at Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center) features some top notch jazz performers: B.B King, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Alejandro Escovedo and The James Hunter Six. The festival is FREE and takes place on July 10th and 11th. – See more at: http://www.metro.us/newyork/events/lowdown-hudson-blues-festival#sthash.bUp5N2Sk.dpuf

Maplewoodstock Music and Arts Festival (Maplewood, NJ): Thirteen bands on Sat, Jul 13, and twelve bands on Sun, Jul 14 25 miles outside the city in Maplewood, NJ.

Music Frees All Festival 2013 (New York, NY): Now in its third year, the 2013 Music Frees All Festival will take place over three days, July 19-21, in New York City. Proceeds will go to the Scotty Hard Trust. TICKETS: http://musicfreesallfestival.bpt.me/

Pleasantville Music Festival – (Pleasantville, NY): For $15 (Seniors) and $40 (Everyone else), you can enjoy the 9th Annual Musica Festival put on by “107.1 The Peak” radio station. Ten musical acts, including Brett Dennen, Easy Star All-Stars, The Kopecky Family Band, Bobby Long, Delta Rae, Red Wanting Blue and Mary C and the Stellars and more. The gates open at 12 Noon on July 13 & 14th, 2013. Music continues until 8:30PM. The Pleasantville Music Festival is ADA accessible! TICKETS: http://www.pleasantvillemusicfestival.com/tickets.html

CONCERTS

Monday, July 1, 2013

  • (FREE!!) Dave Eggar @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($10) Alecia Chakour Band: First Mondays @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10-$15) A Decade Of Soul  Classic Soul & Motown Revue @ B.B. Kings Blues Club
  • ($25) “Mingus Mondays” w/ Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

  • ($15) Boogie Back Tuesdays with  Q-Tip @ Cielo – New York, NY

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

  • (FREE!!) James Casey @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (FREE!!) TAUK July Residency @ Spike Hill
  • ($35-$55) Suzanne Vega – Summer Residency (w/ Full Band) @ City Winery
  • ($60-$75) Phish @ Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion – Bangor, ME

Thursday, July 4, 2013

  • (FREE!!) Raul Midón with special guest Master Kong Nay @ Target Free David Rubenstein Atrium
  • ($5-$8) DJ ?uestlove Presents Bowl Train @ Brooklyn Bowl (late night set)

Friday, July 5, 2013

  • ($10) Fort Knox Five @ Brooklyn Bowl (12pm set)
  • ($15) Deep Banana Blackout @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($60-$75) Phish @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, NY

Saturday, July 6, 2013

  • ($15) Deep Banana Blackout @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($35-$55) 10,000 Maniacs (Album Release) @ City Winery
  • ($40) She & Him @ SummerStage – Central Park, NY
  • ($60-$75) Phish @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, NY

Sunday, July 7, 2013

  • ($10) Klezmer Brunch – Ben Holmes Trio (10am)
  • ($30) Arturo O’Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland NYC
  • ($35-$55) Dave Mason @ City Winery – New York, NY
  • ($40) Harlem Gospel Choir Brunch @ B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
  • ($50) Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ The McKittrick Hotel
  • ($60-$75) Phish @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, NY

Monday, July 8, 2013

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($12) Now vs. Now @ The Bowery Electric
  • ($25) “Mingus Mondays” w/ Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($40) She & Him @ SummerStage – Central Park, NY
  • ($50) Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ The McKittrick Hotel

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

  • ($15) Boogie Back Tuesdays with  Q-Tip @ Cielo
  • ($25-$100) Unity Tour 2013: 311 with Cypress Hill and G. Love & Special Sauce @ PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
  • ($50) Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ The McKittrick Hotel

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

  • LOWDOWN HUDSON BLUES FESTIVAL
    • (FREE!!) B.B. King @ Brookefield Place Plaza
  • (FREE!!) Caravan of Thieves @ Parker Press Park – Woodbridge, NJ
  • ($20) The Skatalites @ Mexicali Live – Teaneck, NJ
  • ($35-$120) Cyndi Lauper @ Beacon Theatre
  • ($35-$55) Suzanne Vega – Summer Residency (w/ Full Band) @ City Winery
  • ($50) Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ The McKittrick Hotel
  • ($60) Ledisi @ Luxury Infinity Yacht
  • ($60-$75) Phish @ PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ

Thursday, July 11, 2013

  • LOWDOWN HUDSON BLUES FESTIVAL
    • (FREE!!) Los Lobos @ Brookefield Place Plaza
  • (FREE!!) TAUK July Residency @ Spike Hill
  • ($5-$8) DJ ?uestlove Presents Bowl Train @ Brooklyn Bowl (late night set)
  • ($10) Q-Tip @ Stage 48
  • ($15-$20) Carbon Leaf @ City Winery
  • ($15-$20) Reggie Watts @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($22-$26) Buckwheat Zydeco @ B.B. Kings Blues Club
  • ($25-$35)  Sly & Robbie @ Irving Plaza powered by Klipsch
  • ($40-$105) Furthur w/ Phil Lesh @ Barclays Center
  • ($42-$53) Belle and Sebastian @ Prospect Park Bandshell
  • ($50) Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ The McKittrick Hotel

Friday, July 12, 2013

  • (FREE!!) Cheap Trick @ Seaside Summer Concert Series
  • ($18-$20) Rachael Yamagata @ Maxwell’s – Hoboken, NJ
  • ($35-$75) Cyndi Lauper @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
  • ($40-$105) Furthur @ PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
  • ($50) Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ The McKittrick Hotel
  • ($60-$75) Phish @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre – Wantagh, NY

Saturday, July 13, 2013

  • Maplewoodstock Music and Arts Festival (Maplewood, NJ)
    • w/ Joan Osborne
  • ($15-$40) Pleasantville Music Festival (Pleasantville, NY)
    • Brett Dennen, Easy Star All-Stars, The Kopecky Family Band, Bobby Long, Delta Rae, Red Wanting Blue and Mary C and the Stellars and more.
  • (FREE!!) Philip Glass @ Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival
  • ($10) Wax Poetic @ Nublu
  • ($25-$100) Cypress Hill and G. Love & Special Sauce @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
  • ($35-$75) Chris Isaak @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
  • ($42) An Intimate Solo / Acoustic performance by Citizen Cope @ City Winery
  • ($50) Aerosmith, Barbecue & Craft Beer! @ Randalls Island Park

Sunday, July 14, 2013

  • Maplewoodstock Music and Arts Festival (Maplewood, NJ)
    • w/ Joan Osborne
  • (FREE) Tall Tall Trees @ Brooklyn Fire Proof
  • ($10) Klezmer Brunch w/ Benjy Fox-Rosen & Michsel Winograd @ City Winery
  • ($15-$40) Blues Traveler @ Empire City Casino – Yonkers, NY
  • ($30) Arturo O’Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland NYC
  • ($40) Harlem Gospel Choir Brunch @ B.B. King Blues Club and Grill (Eary)
  • ($42) An Intimate Solo / Acoustic performance by Citizen Cope @ City Winery

Monday, July 15, 2013

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) “Mingus Mondays” w/ Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($42) An Intimate Solo / Acoustic performance by Citizen Cope @ @ City Winery
  • ($60-$95) The Monkees @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

  • ($15) Boogie Back Tuesdays with  Q-Tip @ Cielo
  • ($42) An Intimate Solo / Acoustic performance by Citizen Cope @ City Winery
  • ($60-$95) Melissa Etheridge @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

  • ($22) Howie Day ($42) @ City Winery – New York, NY
  • ($30-$100) Mobb Deep @ Stage 48 – New York, NY
  • ($35) Les Paul Monday’s with Jimmy Vivino featuring The Les Paul Trio @ Iridium Jazz Club

Thursday, July 18, 2013

  • (FREE!!) TAUK July Residency @ Spike Hill
  • ($5-$8) DJ ?uestlove Presents Bowl Train @ Brooklyn Bowl (late night set)
  • ($12) OMAHA DINER: Charlie Hunter, Steven Bernstein, Skerik & Bobby Previte @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($22) Howie Day @ City Winery
  • ($25-$30) Jars of Clay @ B.B. Kings Blues Club
  • ($35-$75) Alice Cooper @ Beacon Theatre

Friday, July 19, 2013

  • Music Frees All Festival 2013 @ The Bell House – Brooklyn, NY
    • ($25) Antibalas / The Stepkids / DJ Prince Paul / Pegasus Warning
  • ($10) Brothers Past @ Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY
  • ($10) Will Bernard @ The Blue Note – New York, NY
  • ($40-$95) Zac Brown Band @ PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ
  • ($150-$300) Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z @ Yankee Stadium
    • ($25) Pre Party Cruise to the Jay Z and Justin Timberlake Concert @ Rocks Off River Cruise

Saturday, July 20, 2013

  • Music Frees All Festival 2013 @ The Bell House
    • ($25) Antibalas / The Stepkids / DJ Prince Paul / Pegasus Warning
  • ($20) Apollo Run w/ Krissy Krissy @ Rockwood Music Hal – New York, NY
  • ($35-$76) Hot Tuna With Special Guest Leon Russell @ State Theatre – New Brunswick, NJ
  • ($42) An Intimate Solo / Acoustic performance by Citizen Cope @ City Winery
  • ($150-$300) Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z @ Yankee Stadium
  • ($25) Pre Party Cruise to the Jay Z and Justin Timberlake Concert @ Rocks Off River Cruise

Sunday, July 21, 2013

  • Music Frees All Festival 2013 @ The Bell House – Brooklyn, NY
    • ($25) Antibalas / The Stepkids / DJ Prince Paul / Pegasus Warning
  • ($10) Klezmer Brunch w/ Moshe Bonen & HaTaklitim @ City Winery – New York, NY
  • ($30) Arturo O’Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland NYC
  • ($40) Harlem Gospel Choir Brunch @ B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
  • ($40-$55) Everclear @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
  • ($42) An Intimate Solo / Acoustic performance by Citizen Cope @ City Winery – New York, NY
  • ($58-$135) Lyle Lovett & His Acoustic Group @ Tarrytown Music Hall – Tarrytown, NY

Monday, July 22, 2013

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) “Mingus Mondays” w/ Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($35-$40) Anders Osborne, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue / Soulive @ Central Park Summerstage – New York, NY
  • ($42-$50) fun. w/ special guest Tegan and Sara @ Hudson River Park – Pier 26
  • ($65) Phil Lesh w/ John Medeski @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

  • ($15) Boogie Back Tuesdays with  Q-Tip @ Cielo – New York, NY
  • ($28-38) Xavier Rudd w/ Nahko & Medicine for the People @ City Winery – New York, NY
  • ($35-$60) Brandi Carlile @ State Theatre – New Brunswick, NJ
  • ($50) fun. with very special guests Tegan and Sara @ Hudson River Park – Pier 26
  • ($65) Phil Lesh w/ John Medeski @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

  • ($15) Allen Stone @ Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY
  • ($15) Dragon Smoke Feat. Stanton Moore & Robert Mercurio (Galactic) Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk) with Anders Osborne @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($25-$35) Dawes @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
  • ($28-38) Xavier Rudd w/ Nahko & Medicine for the People @ City Winery – New York, NY

Thursday, July 25, 2013

  • (FREE!!) Jason Gallagher (of Leroy Justice) @ Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
  • (FREE!!) Smokey Robinson @ Seaside Summer Concert Series – Brooklyn, NY
  • ($5-$8) DJ ?uestlove Presents Bowl Train @ Brooklyn Bowl (late night set)
  • ($15) Zongo Junction @ Littlefield – Brooklyn, NY
  • ($60) Paul Weller @ The Apollo Theater – New York, NY

Friday, July 26, 2013

  • ($10) Tall Tall Trees @ Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
  • ($35-$40) The Gaslight Anthem @ Hudson River Park – Pier 26 – New York, NY
  • ($40-$85) Rock The Blues Summer Jam 2013 @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
  • ($60) Paul Weller @ Webster Hall – New York, NY
  • ($80) Americanarama Festival of Music featuring Bob Dylan & His Band / Wilco / My Morning Jacket @ Pier A – Hoboken, NJ

Saturday, July 27, 2013

  • (FREE!!) The Gaslight Anthem @ Irving Plaza – New York, NY
  • ($10) Underground Horns @ Nublu – New York, NY
  • ($35-$50) Booker T. Jones @ City Winery – New York, NY
  • ($40-$105) Americanarama Festival of Music feat. Bob Dylan and His Band + more! Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY
  • ($50-$80) Robert Plant presents The Sensational Space Shifters @ Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park Bandshell – Brooklyn, NY
  • ($70-$160) BON JOVI Because We Can – The Tour @ MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, NJ

Sunday, July 28, 2013

  • ($10) Klezmer Brunch w/ Paul Shapiro Ribs & Brisket Revue @ City Winery – New York, NY
  • ($15-$45) Kansas @ Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway – Yonkers, NY
  • ($30) Arturo O’Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Birdland NYC
  • ($35-$40) The Gaslight Anthem w/ The Hold Steady @ Hudson River Park, Pier 26 – New York, NY
  • ($40) Harlem Gospel Choir Brunch @ B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
  • ($45-$95) An Evening with YES @ The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY

Monday, July 29, 2013

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($15) Rebirth Brass Band @ Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY
  • ($25) “Mingus Mondays” w/ Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

  • (Free!!) Barenaked Ladies @ Celebrate Brooklyn! at the Prospect Park Bandshell
  • ($15) Boogie Back Tuesdays with  Q-Tip @ Cielo – New York, NY

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

  • ($22-$60) Slick Rick w/ Lifted (live band) @ Stage 48 – New York, NY
  • ($30) Ravi Coltrane @ The Iridium – New York, NY

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My Behind The Scenes Tour and Overview of The Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland)

Loving Life!

Loving Life!

Gorgeous art on canvas. Quality!

Gorgeous art on canvas. Quality!

I just got back from the 45th year the Montreux Jazz Festival, which took place on the gorgeous Lake Geneva, or Lake Léman as the Swiss like to call it. This amazing musical festival ran from July 1 through the 17th.

Nestled amongst the French populated section of the Swiss Alps in Montreux, Switzerland, this town has one of the most majestic views one will ever have as backdrop for a music festival.

Fun Fact: Lake Geneva was the site for the first measurement of the speed of sound in (fresh) water.

Take all your preconceptions, like comparing it to any festival you have ever attended, and throw them away.  For those thinking it might mirror New Orleans Jazz Festival in the sense of night and day jumps all over New Orleans catching shows, it’s nothing like that.  Try thinking more along the lines of a dignified, classy smallish in scale but giant in reputation, amazing, worldly festival thrown into the middle of The Sound of Music.

A Little Background

The Montreux Jazz Festival is certainly the most well known music festival in the world, at least to musicians.  I would wager that the average musical lover even has a few Live in Montreux cds from an artist or two without even realizing it.

Live at Montreux - I hope you have a few of these albums!

Live at Montreux - I hope you have a few of these albums!

Funky Claude Nobs!

Funky Claude Nobs!

It is all began with Claude “Funky Claude” Nobs, a passionate jazz fan and visionary who founded the festival back in 1967.

This guy was cool, rocking Missoni gear every time I saw him. Come to find out he rocks it almost exclusively. When I lived on Park Avenue, Missoni was the only store on Madison Avenue I cringed by when I took my daily walks home from work.  However, I took the time to take a look at the Missoni catalog that came in our gift bag (more about that later). I have to be honest with you, I dug some of the $1,000 and up items.

A group of youth tossing three teens in the air. Not photoshoped.

A group of youth tossing three teens in the air and they rotated! Not Photoshopped!

Our tour rep told us that Claude started as a cook and networked his way up to somehow create this festival.  That wasn’t a through enough description for me.  How about these facts:

  1. After apprenticing as a cook, Nobs worked in the Tourism Office of Montreux.
  2. He later went to New York, where he met Nesuhi Ertegün, the president of Atlantic Records.
  3. There he met Roberta Flack and invited her to the Rose d’Or de Montreux, one of the most important international festivals in entertainment television
  4. Aretha Franklin made her first visit to Europe thanks to him.
  5. At the age of 31, while he was director of the Tourism Office of Montreux, he organized the first jazz festival

~ Thank you Wikipedia

One of my favorite booths on the walk...

One of my favorite booths on the walk...

Gorgeous flowers were the only thing that stood between you and the water's edge!

Gorgeous flowers were the only thing that stood between me and the water's edge!

Montreux’s inaugural fest was only three days compared to the current three week run and listed almost exclusively jazz musicians.  In the 1970s, the festival began broadening its scope including blues, soul, and rock artists.  Over the years, the festival has grown to include all styles of music from around the world.  This year, I noticed that there was a large Hip-Hop focus at this “Jazz” festival, especially late night.  I would love to speak more with the team who creates the line-up.

It’s fair to say that The Montreux Jazz Festival might be one of the world’s most diverse musical gatherings. Over the four days I was in Montreux, on the streets alone I saw:

  1. Indian group chanting with flute and drum accompaniment
  2. Individual John Mayer types with guitars
  3. Japanese dancing and singing
  4. African Tribal dancing and singing
  5. A Didgeridoo group called DidgEra. (They changed spots all week, I loved them but they need to be nicer to their fans if they want us to give a crap. I got brushed off when asking about the instruments they were playing.)
  6. A solo Kora player
  7. Many versions of American songs remixed with electronic beats coming from the food booths. (Celine Dion even got some love!!)
  8. Hip-Hop dance rage on one of the park stages
  9. Four dudes strapped a barely floating raft to a paddle boat and set up their band on the raft with an electric amp playing garage band music. THAT was amazing. As seen below 🙂
Ballzy and awesome! Note the pirate flag...

Ballzy and awesome! Note the pirate flag...

Try to take into perspective that the festival is very small in ground size even though 220,000+ people are said to have attended.  It’s basically laid out along the edge of Lake Le’man on a straight sidewalk lane pretty much ending at our hotel, Eden Palace Au Lac.  Literally a 15-20 minute walk from end to end.

The Overview

Surf Board Paddlers had the best view from the middle of the Lake

Surf Board Paddlers had the best view from the middle of the Lake

I arrived in Montreux, Switzerland on the 14th of July and was there for four days. Even though it was raining, the place shined through with its gorgeousness. Spotless lawns and sidewalks, clean air, a large gorgeous blue lake in the middle of the most scenic of mountain views one could ever encounter. To have a music festival set in this type of landscape was phenomenal.  As I grow and experience these musical adventures, my definition of phenomenal has changed.  This…was…PHENOMENAL!

The town itself was rather small and you didn’t have to gaze far to see that the town took this festival seriously.  Every window display had a music theme.  There were guitars with pearls draped across them and drumsticks scattered around cupcakes.  Over our time there I would see flower vases lined with sheet music or in the shape of piano keys, cloth stores hung musically inspired cloth and restaurants serving Orchestral Salads and Musical Cheeseburgers.  It was no joke.

Lobby shot of our hotel!

Lobby shot of our hotel!

Loved these guys!

Loved these guys!

While checking in to the Eden Palace Au Lac, to our pleasure we were immediately told we had a room upgrade with a better view!   Then we were told that a representative from The Montreux Jazz Festival had contacted them and asked to be alerted upon our arrival.  We were then told that in ten minutes a representative of the festival would becoming to our hotel to greet us.  Alright, this was pretty dope…

Seriously...this was our view.

Seriously...this was our view.

Our Room with VIew

Our Room with View

Josh and I went to our rooms and melted into our view. It was the most delicious view I had ever experienced.  The grandeur of the mountains were just breathtaking.  The Blue Ridge Mountains where I spent my college years were put into perspective.

The water was so clear and clean.  Very much like a tropical island.  At any point on your walk along the lake, if you felt like swimming, you could jump in from one of the many quaint docks and ladders.  While you swam you were  floating amongst ducks, swans, pigeons, and sea gulls.  Scattered around were sail boats, paddles boats, para-gliders, surf-board paddlers and more.  Every single moment and spot was picture perfect.

View from sidewalk walk around Lake!

View from sidewalk walk around Lake! See the docks to jump in from? Too cute!

Gift Bag Welcome!

Gift Bag Welcome!

I began to unpack before the  phone call came.  Josh went down to meet the representative and came back with a huge bag of goodies. The gift bag contained two Montreux shirts, MAC cosmetics, A Montreux Jazz Festival dual-disc sampler cd, Missioni clothing magazine, and a Switzerland tourist type booklet with fun things to do around the area.

Hip-Hop Dancing on The Park Stage

Hip-Hop Dancing on The Park Stage

Over the next four days, I would experience a world I had never known as this amazing festival opened itself up to me at the same time. I was walking amongst covered Muslims and Native American Indians.  I heard people speaking French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Israeli and more.  This is something I never see/hear at American Festivals.

Fest goers lounging outside the Park stage.

Fest goers lounging outside the Park stage.

During the three week festival you could enjoy piano, voice and air guitar competitions with contestants from Great Britain, Australian, France and more.  There were paying concerts with Carlos Santana (Rock), John Mclaughlin (Fusion), Jimmy Cliff (Reggae), Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi (Southern Rock), B.B. King (Blues), and any other style of music you can imagine. There were also free shows held in various locations along the water each day.

Notice the water on the right as you walk along the side walk of vendor tents.

Notice the water and mountains on the right as you walk along the side walk of vendor tents.

The Music in the Park Stage, located right outside the Auditorium Stravinsky!

The Music in the Park Stage, located right outside the Auditorium Stravinsky!

There were Salsa and Brazilian show boats and a New Orleans Jazz train which all housed performances on board.  There were workshops in Funk, Soul, Bossa Nova, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Electronic and Classical music.  There were teachings about the rise of Hip-Hop, music in film, Slam Poetry performances, and numerous individual artists workshops.  I attended the Larry Graham Workshop and the Marcus Miller Workshop, both of which will be posted in full later next week.

The food booths were unique, diverse and fresh!

The food booths were unique, diverse and fresh!

My first meal at Fest was Paella. So Good!

My first meal at Fest was Paella. So Good!

Some 22 food stalls can be found along the lakeside.  The food was on par with the quality you might find at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the only other festival I’ve attended whose food was on the same level as the music. My first meal was Jambalaya, followed by fondue, crepes, orange and apple portable waffles that tasted like fruit loops, baguettes with amazing cheese and oil toppings, German style potato salads, cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham.  There was Sushi, Thai, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and German and there was even a salad/pasta bar in one of the booths.  The food was never ending and I didn’t get to eat enough of it while I was there.

Tons of exciting activities were around for kids of all ages!

Tons of exciting activities were around for kids of all ages!

The Behind-the-Scene Tour

To be honest, I had forgotten about the Behind the Scenes Tour until two days into the trip and we were on our last night of box seats.  All we had to do was come in between 2pm and 11pm and they would give us a Behind the Scenes Tour.  The tour ended up taking place on our last day of the festival right around sound check. Coincidence? I think not 😉

I was described the difference between Backline (everything behind the artist on stage) and Front Line (the lights and video equipment). With that info under my belt, I was taken into the Instrument Storage Room.

Hanging out with all the instruments - felt good!

Hanging out with all the instruments - felt good!

Due to the small size of Montreux, the frequency of the shows during the festival and the lack of time for each artist to set up, most artist attending the Montreux Jazz Festival use instruments from the stock pile that is housed in the Auditorium Stravinsky.  Of course, people such as Larry Graham and Paul Simon would use their own instrument but their back up bands were asked to use what was already on site.

Instrument galore...

Instrument galore...

Every day the staff prepares the instruments.  The last performer of the night sound checks first.  The selection of instruments was grand.  I was told that the staff who maintain and organize this portion of the festival were the hardest working people on site.  It was their job to make sure that every artist had the instrument they needed.  It was their job to be there multiple hours a day.  First to organize what is needed for the day, then to organize sound check, see the show through to the end of the performance, and then make sure the instruments are put back accordingly.

I immediately recognized the pressure that was on this portion of the staff and at that moment, a grumpy male snapped at Nathan to move out of his way.  Clearly, there was pressure.

Instruments everywhere, of all kinds.

Instruments everywhere, of all kinds.

Because so many artists performed in such a small amount of time on one stage, the last artist performing on a given night has sound check first and their equipment is set up.  Each following artist’s equipment is set up in front of the last.  Then, during performance time, the first act goes on, their items are removed from the line and by the time the last act is performing, only one line of instruments, that last artists instruments, are left on stage.

I was told of a story involving Keith Jarret.  There are only two pianos in the collection: a Steinway and a Yamaha.  Jarret struck one key on the piano provided by the festival and said “NO!” He refused to use the equipment.  The Montreux staff went looking all over Switzerland for the type of piano that Jarret wanted. There was only one located in Switzerland and it was flown in.  The artist struck one key on this new piano and said “NO!”  He ended up using the original piano provided by the festival.

The crates that brought supplies on the train to the Festival

The crates that brought supplies on the train to the Festival

I was escorted to the inner belly of the building.  Here was housed the recycling center.

Fun Fact about the alcohol:  The festival has 20,000 liters of beer imported from Belgium because the tiny Swiss kegs don’t serve the purpose of the large festival.

Kegs ready for the Festival.

Kegs ready for the Festival.

Montreux’s Greening efforts are intense. Their mission is to limit waste creation while at the same time maximizing sorting and recycling. This mission manifests itself through:

  • Returning the site to its original state on a daily basis
  • A team that works 24 hours a day, sorting trash and ensuring the cleanliness of the festival areas
  • An on-site eco-compatible waste plant
  • Eco Points spread across the site, both indoors and outdoors, allowing the public to recycle items including plastic cups, PET, glass, aluminum, paper/cardboard, and items to be incinerated
  • Prevention and information for the public, in partnership with the Summit Foundation, to promote eco-friendly measures

For it’s second year, in addition to financial support, Alpiq is providing practical energy efficiency solutions for the Hospitality Garden, the festival’s VIP area.  With the installation of a photovoltaic system and energy-saving LED lighting, this technology is to be extended in future to the entire festival infrastructure.

Hospitality Area...

Hospitality Area...

Audio Production...

Audio Production...

The audio trailers were also in this area. There were two audio trucks and two video trucks.   The Montreux Jazz Festival has been recording their video in HD since 1991. Back then, HD was seen as ridiculous.  Now Funky Claude just sits back and smiles with his awesome video while everyone begs for it.  The entire festival is recorded live and there has been 5000 hours of tape recorded.  As an artist playing the festival, you have to be OK with being taped. Don’t worry, you get a free copy of your show! Marvin Gaye refused to be taped until he went to Funky Claude’s personal home and saw the quality of the HD video.  Only then did Marvin agree to be taped.

The fest is staffed with 1200 volunteers who are mostly students who make little in wages so many stay with someone they know or travel in from the outer towns.    There were perks for them throughout the festival. Food was a 15% off price, there was a masseuse backstage for cheap whenever they needed to relax, they were allowed to see music days on end for free, sometimes lucky ones, or not lucky, were allowed to work for the artists!

View of the busy sidewalk near the Auditorium...

View of the busy sidewalk near the Auditorium...

The two main Halls, Auditorium Stravinsky and The Miles Davis Hall, used for the evenings shows, were located inside the Convocation Center.

Montreux Convocation Center

Montreux Music & Convention Center

Backstage at Miles Davis Hall: The Miles Davis Hall, located in the Music & Convention Center, was built on as an audition to the Auditorium Stravinsky after the festival got to big for the solo stage and has a capacity of 2,000 people.  Once built, musicians, specifically jazz musicians, wanted to perform in that space rather than the large space.

Front of Miles Davis Hall, attached to Auditorium Stravinsky

Front of Miles Davis Hall, attached to Auditorium Stravinsky

Lights testing at Miles Davis Hall

Lights testing at Miles Davis Hall

I inquired about the Jam sessions that Sean Rickman had mentioned to me when we ran into each other at a red light on the street.   Artists are encouraged to go to the Montreux Cafe after their performances for impromptu jam sessions.   There are certain set concerts to help promote such a thing happening.  Unfortunately, the scene late night in the Montreux Cafe is not one that many artists of Sean’s caliber want to participate in.  Whenever we were near the area late night, the scene was full of young 20-something drunken ragers who were more interested the opposite sex then the music fueling the vibe.

Heading towards backstage...

Heading towards backstage MDH...

Rage!

Rage!

As we approached the backstage entrance to the Hall, I could hear Larry Graham‘s bass lines coming from sound check. We were let in to watch a portion of the sound check and sadly had to leave our camera outside.

I can tell you, standing in front of the stage with just me and Larry Graham and his low end was an absolute thrill.  In that moment I felt very special. I knew I was in a special moment, experiencing a very special thing. I couldn’t help but think about the people who had gotten me to this point. Thank you to my parents, the Sloanes and Josh! I wasn’t taking any of it for granted.

Larry Graham was on stage with his wife checking things out. His wife and he were sporting matching jerseys with #1 and #2 on the back. Josh, myself, Nathan and Helen watched for about 15 minutes. Taking it all in…

Auditorium Stravinsky

Auditorium Stravinsky

Auditorium Stravinsky this way...

Auditorium Stravinsky this way...

Backstage at Auditorium Stravinsky – We headed through a few corridors and up or down some stairs to end up in the Auditorium Stravinsky, situated in the Music & Convention Center.  The interior is completely paneled with cherry wood and has an audience capacity of 1800 seated and 3500 standing,

We immediately went backstage and were walking amongst the orchestra that would be backing Deep Purple that evening.  There was a red carpet on the floor which I found out led to the stage. How cute is that?  A red carpet to the stage!!

Lounge outside Auditorium Stravinsky inner room for drinkers, etc.

Lounge outside Auditorium Stravinsky inner room for drinkers, etc.

To the left of the red carpet was Claude’s dressing room and interestingly enough, Quincey’s Jones’, who stays all three weeks each year.  When our rep explained to us that her first job had been serving artists relations, Josh asked her which artist had been the most difficult.  Prince became the topic of discussion now as she spoke of going all over Montreux with Prince’s makeup artist looking for the correct wig and he apparently has a very impressive makeup collection.

Leaving the tour, this is the entrance to Stravinsky Area.

Leaving the tour, this is the entrance to Stravinsky Area.Deep Purple fans right around the corner.

The tour was informative and exciting.  As we left the building to go do some more shopping, we passed the entrance to the line for the Deep Purple show.  Diehard fans with purple hair and Deep Purple clothing were already lined up for the show that would be taking place in 2 hours.  I knew how they felt.  The music was calling…

Deep Purple fans ready to rage!

Deep Purple fans ready to rage!

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