I have to admit, I am a fan of traditions. They were never planned, but they slowly but surely snake in during my travel adventures the past ten years I guess. One of them for sure how I open up my very own festival season, it’s as easy as going out and buy a cup of coffee on my way out in the morning by now, it does not require any big planning or effort, clicking on various “Book Now” buttons is more than enough. This past May, as every other year, was my month and THE month – I mean, come on, the summer breeze overcomes most places already, my bags for Amsterdam are packed and my birthday is another sweet add on, can it get any better than that?
During my 10+ years spent in and out of Switzerland at different festivals and music venues, I think I got a pretty decent overview, especially when it comes to Europe. I don’t know it all, I still have a ton of events on my bucket list, but I’ve certainly encountered some interesting settings along the way. There were places I visited once and festivals I go back every year, for their uniqueness in terms of line up, scenery and organization. April means we can surely start to say goodbye to the winter chills and welcome some sun on our faces, but April also means that Zermatt closes the iced up season with a bang.
Fall means a lot of things: change of temperature, grey days and layering of clothes. A big Yikes! for me. But fall also means that the hippie dances at festivals are replaced with indoor locations. Some of them are simple, others outstanding. Last week I was part of one of the most beautiful indoor festival settings I’ve seen so far. Baloise Session has me two times this year and let collide two different generations. But we all danced together in the end. The power of music. So kitsch but so true at the same time.
On the second festival day we had way more time to enjoy everything slowly in Zermatt. We decided to go uphill to the highest event stage located on 3030m over the sea level to hear some fine jazz and face fully to the sun shining down. And who had known… later on I would be very amazed by an artist I should have heard about a long long time already.
Sometimes it really happens (shock!), I don’t need to travel far out of town to join in for a music festival. It’s kind of surreal for me just to be able to get to the venue in nearly 20 minutes: while the most festivals are happening spread all over the country, this time everything was concentrated in the middle of my hometown Zurich. And as I could see during these two days, the M4Music certainly is one of the most influencing festivals in this part of the country.
April is a buzzing month, because slowly but surely, I’m able to wake up from my brief festival hibernation of three months and stick my ears wherever I can in order to enjoy familiar tunes plus discover some surprising new ones. Gosh, how I missed that! And what’s the best thing to open this year’s festival season properly? Exactly, heading on top of the mountain, for the awaited Zermatt Unplugged.
The first part of December was quite busy for me – I never thought I was going to be in the mountains two weekends in a row, and both times to attend music festivals. Well, lucky me! It’s always nice to chase the sun even if the temperatures are freezing. This second ride took me out of the urban world and could have brought me everywhere. Seriously, 4 hours of train rides: I could have reached Milan, Munich or other places, but no no, I was ‘just’ heading up to Verbier.
Two weekends ago, winter clearly started to kick in here in Switzerland. And what better occasion to make things easier and escape a bit to the mountains again, where the chance for sun and having some warm rays on your sweater is way higher than the grey and foggy city. Obviously I didn’t go to Davos for any type of winter sports: I never learned it, and the idea of rolling myself in wet cold snow disappeared maybe at the age of 12. I made all my way up for the 8th edition of the Songbird Festival.
Switzerland offers a great variety of festivals all year round. Clearly they prevale during summertime, but there are some great events to join in combination with a weekend out of your hometown during the colder months as well. This year, the festival playground gets richer with one more baby: Polaris Festival, Edition No.1.
After last weekend, where I spent my time at one of the most acclaimed electronic music festivals – the Caprices – of Switzerland – the Caprices – , I’m finding myself again travelling back home from another mountain destination, Zermatt. Reason for that was the closing weekend of the Zermatt Unplugged, a little quieter festival this time, with a big focus on acoustic acts, where well established musicians are the main attraction, and new talented artists have a platform to play in a very international environment.