Claude Nobs – founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, dies at 76

Photo above taken on the Jazz Boat – a regular event at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The boat cruises around Lac Léman with live bands that play on board for music lovers.

Late last night, the sad news came through here in Switzerland that Claude Nobs, founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival had passed away at the age of  76 after suffering a cross country skiing fall during the Christmas holidays. You can read the statement from the festival’s own website here

There is an interesting interview with Mr Nobs here on World Radio Switzerland broadcast in  April 2011. You can hear how the festival first began, how he got the name “Funky Claude” in the famous Deep Purple – “Smoke on the Water” track and how he introduced Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, to Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones at his chalet, high in the hills above Montreux.

In this video link here, you can see inside the chalet where he entertained the stars that performed at the festival each year. You also can see Mr Nob’s vast record collection, model train collection, and some of the instruments that were played by famous musicians in jam sessions at chalet.  The video is in French and was broadcast on June 2012.

Conservatoire holds summer school, Montreux Jazz starts today, Nyon police launch mobile van

The Conservatoire of Nyon (the prestigious music school situated by the lake side) is holding a summer school this year for both children and adults on the 11th-16th August from 14:00 to 18:00. Several of the teachers at this school speak English.  See site for full details or contact  Marie-Hélène Piotet: Tel: 079 579 73 45 

Montreux Jazz festival starts today!

Check out the programme here. Although many concerts are sold out, don’t forget there are jazz trains, jazz and blues boats and salsa boats that are part of this festival. They are a fun way to see the area while experiencing great music. See photos of the salsa boat and jazz train from a previous article on the festival here

Local News

From July, Nyon police will have a mobile police van situated in the centre of town as part of various measures implemented by the council to help prevent crime and tackle the recent wave of  incivilities in the area. Video surveillance cameras are also planned to be installed in the town in 2013.

Swiss swimming competition this weekend

This weekend beginning today Friday, the Swiss national swimming championship takes place in Nyon at the Colovray swimming pool . There’s also a full programme of events to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the Le Cercle des Nageurs de Nyon (the Circle of  Swimmers of Nyon).  The finals of the championships will be on Friday and Saturday at 16:00, and Sunday at 16:00

“Living along Lac Léman” book is now for sale! – The perfect gift for everyone.

Tuesday evening in Nyon saw the official launch of  the book “Living along Lac Léman”. Thankyou so much to all those who came to the Villa Thomas at the COV for the vernissage/launch.

Photos above. Happy book fans!

The venue in the stunning lake side setting made it the perfect place to launch the book. It also gave readers of this site,  La Côte newspaper, and other members of the public a chance to mingle and enjoy a glass of local Swiss wine, along with tasting some British cheeese from the British Cheese Centre of Switzerland. 

Photo above: the Villa Thomas along the lake side. Note – there will be a jazz concert at the Villa Thomas on Friday 7th Oct see COV for here for full details

There were also representatives at the event from the various local festivals (Paléo, Caribana, Visions du Réel etc),  from Nyon town council and Nyon tourism giving those there the opportunity to find out more about the three festivals and local issues.

Photo above – Checking out the book at the vernissage

About the book –  The perfect company gift, birthday or Christmas present.

Packed with columns articles and photos the book is is a light hearted look at life along the shores of lake Geneva and contains a selection of columns which have been published for the last two years in English every Friday in La Côte newspaper.  This weekly column is a conversation is about the people, places and events in Vaud as seen through the eyes of a British expatriate.

Photo above: left C. Nelson-Pollard author of “Living along Lac Léman”, right Contessa Pinon – editor of La Côte newspaper

With observations on unusual Swiss customs and on the peculiarities to be found in both the French and English languages, it also comments on other subjects such as the jargon that estate agents use when advertising houses for sale, the difficulties of making a fondue, or trying to say a telephone number in French.

Image above – article from book called  “Figuring it out”

With other articles on local festivals, the Désalpe and more, and packed with photos that capture the colour and essence of the Léman region, the book makes a perfect gift for someone who has just moved to the area. It  will also delight those who have lived here for a while, whether expat of Swiss, in recognising  the slightly side quirky side of Swiss life whilst acknowledging the beauty of the Léman area.

Image below – Article from book called “A saisir!” (on estate agents’ jargon)

At just 29 CHF, the book is available to order through this site, just click on “Living in Nyon” book on the top side bar to order.  Free delivery in the Nyon, Coppet, Rolle and Prangins area.  

From  Tuesday 11th October, the book will also be for sale at Nyon tourist office  Opening hours  Monday-Friday 08:30 -12:30/ 13:30 -17:30

Special book signing – The author will be signing copies of the book at Nyon tourist office on Friday November 4th from 16:00- 18:00.  An ideal opportunity to pick up a copy and find out about events and winter activities happening in the Nyon and St Cergue region.

Photo above and below – Selling the books left to right. Anna Hiller Bedlington, Suzy Nelson-Pollard, Nicola Bedlington.

All photos of the vernissage –  Catherine Lewis photography see site here

A wrist full of festival armbands, a bike and a love of music – “Ride to Live” Greg Parmley revs up to Nyon on Tuesday.

A wrist full of festival armbands on the  “Ride to Live”  tour – Greg  Parmley at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Greg Parmley is a man on a mission.  A mission to visit as many music festivals as he can across Europe in one month. He began his trip on June 24th at Glastonbury in the UK, went straight on to “Hard Rock Calling” and then headed off, (on a BMW 1200R motorbike) over to the continent. His journey took him to Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy, before arriving in Switzerland on July 15th for the Moon and Stars festival in Locarno.  His other mission – to make it into the Guinness Book of Records for being the person to visit the most music festivals  in 30 days.

Living in Nyon caught up with him at the Montreux Jazz  festival, a week before the end of his journey. He is due to  arrive in Nyon for the first night of Paléo after visiting the Gurten Festival and the Live at Sunset festival in Zurich.   

Like on any true band tour, he’s also got the touring T shirt with slogan – “Ride to Live 2011″ – complete with black background, biker’s helmet and two crossed microphones. He’s also got stories to tell. The washing he left in a launderette in Slovakia (and only remembered when he was 200 miles away), the weather, trying to dry out both himself and his gear after days of torrential rain.  The choice of food at the festivals which he says “has sometimes been a bit clichéd”: sausages in Germany, chips in Belgium etc and  “there has been quite a lot of ham and cheese for breakfast”  in the hotels along the route.

As to all that biking, there have been very few hiccups.  “There was one “slight altercation with a truck, a hairpin bend and some tarmac that ran out, and I did moan just a bit at having to pay for a pee at a motorway service station in Germany, but on the whole, it’s been relatively problem free.” 

Then of course there’s the music, the cool concerts, the festivals where he discovered new bands, the friendly folk  and muisc fans ththat he has met in service stations, backstage and in the grounds at each event. There are the concerts that were more memorable for the atmosphere rather than the music, but most of all – the fun. 

However, after all those miles and all those concerts, wasn’t it is a bit tiring, wasn’t he a bit jaded of it all by now? 

“Not at all, I’m only just getting into my stride. It took a while to adapt to everything, the bike” (he took an advanced bike riding course before the trip), “the planning and pacing and organisational details, but now I’m really on a roll. If all goes according to plan, this trip should make it into the record books, although I reckon I could have actually added more festivals to the itinerary but this will do for now.  It has been fascinating to see what all the festivals have been about, it’s not always just about the music, it’s the ambience, the people that go to them that define them”. 

Greg comes with a professional interest in the whole tour. He is the editor of IQ magazine, the magazine of the International Live  Music business. Note – there is an article in the magazine on how Paléo is trying to combat the black market in ticketing for this year’s festival. Greg also edited the book “My life on the Road with Coldplay”. 

He is reporting on the trip for the Telegraph and commenting on Facebook about the whole experience (Ride to Live 2011).  On the Telegraph site he categorises each festival from the practical; location etc, to festival genre  and music policy. According to Greg; “Fatboy Slim need not apply to appear at Metalcamp in Slovenia “.  At  the Exit festival in Serbia, it’s the “locals, Brits and the socially aware” who attend. It’s this last festival that brings particularly good memories for Greg.  “This is an extraordinary festival set around and in a fortress;  it also comes with an interesting  political history”.  Other concerts have come as a surprise, albeit with surreal experiences. “The children’s festival (Pennenzakkenrock in Belgium)  was “different “, set on a man made island with the parents of the children all looking on”.  

Have there been any concerts that have really stood out along the trip?

“There have been many good ones but Swedish “Mando Diao” (who played at the Moon and Stars in Locarno), and U.S band  “Queens of the Stone Age” (who played at Roch Werchter in Belgium), both gave memorable concerts. I’m open to most types of music so this in a way, is a dream trip. There have been very few downsides to it. One of them is perhaps the obvious, when you know you have to get up the following  morning to drive 400 or so miles on a motorbike you obviously have to be prudent and can only have just one or two few beers the night before, but that’s OK.  I’m definitely going to celebrate in style on the last night of this whole challenge (July 23rd at the High Voltage Festival in London)”.

Let’s hope that the weather stays dry for Paléo and the festival gives him a warm welcome, his last venue in Europe before heading back over the channel to the UK and all being well – into the record books.

Montreux Jazz festival begins today, Usine a Gaz reveals Autumn programme

The Montreux Jazz festival kicks off today and continues until the 16th July. The festival name is bit of misnomer as there is much more than jazz available on the programe. From the blues of B.B King (a festival regular), to hip hop, soul, rock, pop, techno, etc, there is a huge variety of music on offer.  Although tickets for many of the big names sold out when the line up was first released,  there are still tickets available for other concerts and many concerts are completely free.  See the free programme here

Latin Rythmn at festival

The festival also runs music events in different venues away from the main stages such as on the “Salsa boat or the Brazil Tropical boats”. These weekend boats cruise back and forth across the lake and past the stunning scenery of the Vaud vineyards with live bands playing on board. While they play, passengers dance, if you like rythmn of latin musc then these boats are not to be missed, the pace of dancing is frenetic on board too!  Salsa boat dates here

Jazz trains

If you prefer your music a little bit more laid back and foot tapping, there are traditional jazz trains (again with live bands on board) at this festival. They weave their way through the hills from Montreux to Gstaad or Rochers-de-Nayes.   Jazz train dates here 

Seee Montreux Jazz  festival   for the full programme.  The site in in English.

Note  – if you intend driving to the festival allow extra time to park in the festival car parks and to take the free shuttle bus to the centre.  If you intend going by train there is a 10% discount on the train fare for concert ticket holders. There are also special night trains for music lovers to return to Lausanne, Morges, Rolle, Gland, Nyon, Coppet, and Geneva after the concerts. See times here.      

Usine a Gaz – Autumn line up

Closer to home,  on Wednesday the Usine a Gaz  (Nyon’s permanent music venue), revealed its musical and theatrical musical line up for their Autumn season. It kicks off on the 13th October with a “ciné/concert”, a film and music mix event.  The film to be screened is “Duel”  starring Dennis Weaver (shown in English with French subtitles).  “Duel” was the first feature film directed by Steven Spielberg.  The red Plymouth Valiant car in the film is used on the cover, and the posters of the Usine a Gaz’s 2011/2012 programme . Music at this ciné/ concert event will be performed by Antiquarks.    

More on the Usine a Gaz’s autumn programme, including the new pricing for “abonnements” and reviews of music events theatrical events and Wednesday afternoon events for families and children, here on this site in the coming months.