Unveiled last December, the poster for Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) 2021 was produced by Marylou Faure. Pop and colorful, it shows a dozing woman. “I wanted to transcribe this unique feeling of lightness and reverie that music provokes”, explains the French artist and illustrator. Hopefully this should not be seen as a bad omen, a sign that the 55th edition of the Lake Geneva event, scheduled for July 2 to 17, will have to be put to sleep for the second time in a row.
The MJF will announce in March the challenges it faces and what this edition could look like, which in any case will be different. In the meantime, the festival is pursuing a development aiming to occupy the space on the sidelines of the two weeks during which it shines far and wide in summer – a shift that began at the end of 2019 with the creation of an independent media company, Montreux Media Ventures. The main purpose of this structure is to better manage and distribute the content that the festival has owned and produced since 1967, via the possibilities offered by streaming, while creating tailor-made events for brands, labels or partners who so wish.
In line with this dissemination-oriented project, the MJF today announces a partnership with Concerts from Qello by Stingray, world leader in digital live music broadcasting. As part of a multi-year agreement, the North American platform will broadcast live the next editions of the festival, and will benefit from exclusive content directly produced and produced by Montreux Media Ventures. For now, Qello Concerts by Stingray is already streaming more than fifty concerts from the Montreux Jazz Festival, from Ray Charles to the Wu-Tang Clan, including Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye and of course Deep “Smoke on the Water ”Purple.
Director of Montreux Media Ventures, Nicolas Bonard is delighted with an agreement seen as “a key element of the hybrid model” that the festival is developing in order to annualize its presence on the networks. “Streaming is a crucial medium to ensure the sustainability of the Festival: if people cannot attend concerts in Montreux, we will bring them to their homes.”
Twenty selected artists
At the same time, the MFF is launching a new brand to proactively support young talents. Under the banner of MJF Spotlight, the event intends to offer both physical and virtual events. The idea is, on the sidelines of a big evening organized in the summer under the banner of the festival, to organize concerts throughout the year – as soon as the sanitary restrictions are lifted – in various places in Switzerland. Mathieu Jaton, director of the event, is delighted to work through this initiative for the visibility of the stars of tomorrow, at a time when the sudden end of the live industry “has strongly impacted the emergence of new artists. “.
At the start of the year, the MJF will unveil a list of twenty emerging artists to follow during the year. Among the first Spotlight cuvée are the Swiss Priya Ragu, new r’n’b star, the English groups Sault and The Lathums and the French singer Yseult. Each month, an artist will be highlighted on the networks with original content, while monthly MJF Spotlight Sessions will offer live recordings available in video and audio. This initiative is also accompanied by a playlist which will see the Montreux programmers propose each month twenty new songs making music news.