Holding a ticket for a festival that takes place in Switzerland around the end of August, leaves a bittersweet feeling in my heart everytime: that means that summer is definetly about to say goodbye and the festival season is closing. Zürich Openair (ZOA) is one of the youngest festivals here in my country. The first Edition made its debut in 2010, and remained pretty faithful to an alternative line up, which is great. Most of the acts have an indie or electronic background, are already settled in the scene or are the discovery and shining stars of the year.
In addition to that, there are several DJs playing Friday and Saturday night, so that the whole festival area gets transformed into a Dance Circus. This years big headliner were Röyksopp & Robyn, Paolo Nutini, Deadmau5 and the Parov Stelar Band. Compared to the last couple of times the festival wasn’t sold out or even overpacked, which could have been related to the bad forecasted weather. Basically not tragic for me: more space for dancing 🙂
Zürich Open Air is smaller than some other famous Festivals here in Switzerland, but to be honest, we became pretty proud that we finally got one, and yes, it has smaller acts, but it’s also one with the less mainstream music held here in the country. The amenties are pretty great for being that tiny: cute camping site by the entrance, a food court with stuff from all over the world and even a market corner with some shops. The local second Hand store Fizzen was also there to offer Long skirts, Lumberjack Shirts and Accessoires to complete every Festival look.
|Main Stage and Jägermeister Hangar|
Since I am very interested in working in the event sector one day, especially for a concert or Festival Organisation, I decided to work at Zürich Openair as a volunteer. I was assigned for bartending, which was quite easy for me because of my Club Job on Weekends. Unfortunately I didn’t really had the Chance to have an insight to the whole organisation as I wanted to, but the job was fun and I got a good team on my back. There was also time to chat with the guests from time to time or go on a break to hear some DJs playing (I was running nightshifts), ’cause, as I mentioned, there where loads of bars like ours and the Festival wasn’t sold out. That was obviously another plus for me as a volunteer.
So here’s a short recap of what happened in these four amazing days.
Thursday – Paolo Nutini
It was a great move to choose Paolo Nutini for the first evening in my opinion. Switzerland has a huge crush on Scottish Songwriters, and obviously a very good taste ;). Acts like Paolo or Amy Macdonald are usually sold out or need additional dates when they’re touring solo here. Bringing some soulful and funky Music was a great intro to get into the festival mood and maybe move later to hear the first DJ gigs. I was a bit disappointed about the acoustic though, I couldn’t hear Paolo’s amazing voice very well over the instruments of the band. That changed after he was playing in acoustic at the end of the Show. This was just my thought I guess, maybe beacuse I’ve heard him playing 10 times already and in different venues, the crowd didn’t seem to care and was loving the Show from minute one. After 90 minutes of sweetness and lovesongs, we switched to the Winston Tent to have a drink and see a Swiss female duo on the decks called ME & HER. They were my discovery of the evening, talking about electronic Music, and I’ve also learned that there are some great deephouse remixes of Morcheeba Songs that I didn’t even knew would exist.
|Front row at Paolo Nutini’s gig|
|Winston Tent – day|
|Winston Tent – night|
|Me and friends, day one|
Friday – It’s all about work (… and a DJ night)
Friday was the day where I basically was running from one place to another and missed a lot of good acts. Working during the day and switching almost immediately to my nightshift at 7 made me miss uprising Swiss stars Kadebostany, a band from Geneva that has a lead singer sounding very similar to Adele. However, I got my break exactly during Richie Hartwin’s gig at the Dance Circus, so I got my hour of glory by having a Dance with a co-worker of mine 🙂
|I was a 10 🙂|
Saturday – Röyksopp and Robyn, White Lies and some Deephouse Superstars
Saturday was the big day! When I looked to the Festival schedule I had really some issues by deciding what acts I wanted to see. I was having my late shift at 11pm, so I was totally in for a meal first. After that I went to the main stage for the White Lies and I wasn’t disappointed: the voice of lead singer Harry McVeigh wraps you on the first tone. It was nice to discover more Songs of the band, until that Moment they were popular in my mind only because of the hit single “Bigger than Us”, which was played up and down in the Swiss radio stations a while ago.
The most Special act was for sure DJ duo Röyksopp and swedish sweetheart Robyn. The result of their work together was an amazing mini EP called “Do it again”, which contains tracks for every taste direction when it comes to electronic music: from the quiet “Monument”, talking about death in a beautiful way like only Robyn could do, to the more EDM inspired “Do it again”, played on the mainstream channels. Their 2 hours Show was splitted into Röyksopp’s set first, Robyn solo after and then both on one stage to rock the audience with their collaborations (it’s not their first time recording together, that’s also a reason for their EP title). Robyn isn’t only great to hear, she’s a blessing for the eyes: I know just few artist capable to inscene themselves in terrific costumes and act on stage like they’re just in their own livingroom. They just were breathtaking and the crowd did confirm that by having a dance the whole time.
I had to work right after the concert, but I was thrilled because I knew that I was allowed to do my break exactly during Sascha Braemer’s Dj set. It was the perfect ending of my Saturday night, even if I worked at the bar until 6 am.
Sunday – Parov Stelar Band
Sunday was cold. Compared to the past three days, where Zurich had between 20 and 25 degrees celsius with sunshine, it was like an October morning. Pouring rain and 12 degrees. I have to admit, I had my problems by crawling out of bed after coming home at 8 in the morning, but I didn’t really want to miss the last day! I was off and the festival would have been closing with a swing. So, no, I didn’t get back to bed: I took out some warm clothes instead and headed out into the rain to hear the Parov Stelar Band, our last headliner for this ZOA edition. Lucky us, the rain stopped exactly when the band started to play. So we put away all our umbrellas (those who had one) and danced until the concert was over. For those who don’t know the band, have a look when they are in your town! Parov Stelar is mentioned a lot for being one of the first electro swing inventors, a kind of music that is made only for dancing and having a good time. He is on tour as a trio or as a band, in the last case in company of the wonderful singer Cleo Panther: such a powerful lady!
|Rainy Sunday and a pizza|
|Not raining anymore 😉|
Zürich Openair: Held on the last weekend of August, from Thursday to Sunday. Early bird ticket is around 170 CHF, regular around 220 CHF. Acts on Friday and Saturday night until 5 am. The festival takes place in Rümlang, close to Zurich Airport.
Where to sleep: If you’re not a tent friend, any hotel in the airport area would be convenient. Tram number 10 takes you directly to the festival site. Public transportation is included in your festival ticket.
Volunteering: There’s the chance every year to apply as a volunteer. The jobs are different and suit also non-german speakers. Your “salary” will be a ticket for the whole festival, a shirt, staff pass and food vouchers. You usually work two days of four.