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50 years of the Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux Jazz Festival
This summer 2m2c staged the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival. 50 years of music have ensured unrivalled fame for the town, a major asset catapulting the Montreux Riviera onto the international stage for both business tourism and events.

Cultural Events: the natural ambassadors for 2m2c.
In as much as the Montreux Jazz Festival is the main event in Montreux, it also showcases a dynamic and positive image of the town to the rest of Switzerland and abroad. Music is part of the DNA of both Montreux and 2m2c, and the latter is fully deserving of the name, ‘Montreux Music and Convention Centre’.

Participation at an international event is directly linked to the reputation and spirit of its location, a sentiment perfectly highlighted by the following comments on the Hydro 2016 website (an international congress on hydropower which brings together 1500 experts at 2m2c this October): ‘The conference and exhibition will take place in the modern and spacious 2m2c Congress Centre, overlooking Lake Léman, which is also home to the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival in the summer.’

Montreux Jazz Festival also attracts many high-profile Swiss and international brands, keen for their names to be associated with one of the world’s most prestigious music festivals.

Only recently, la Vaudoise Assurances, a sponsor of the festival, entrusted 2m2c with organising its ‘Vaudoise Night’, a top-class evening in honour of the firm’s 1500 employees, offering them a true flavour of the festival, and with the added aim of attracting an artist loyal to Montreux, Jamie Cullum, who performed for them exclusively in the Stravinski Auditorium. The show was followed by a cocktail party with more live music and with the lake and mountains as a backdrop.

This reputation within the world of entertainment is reinforced by the many other popular and cultural events that run alongside 2m2c’s more traditional congresses and business events. The Montreux Comedy Festival, the Septembre Musical or the Sundance Festival, each one promotes a positive image to a diverse yet complementary audience, thus ensuring greater visibility for 2m2c, the event-managers and for the employees and children of the event management sector.

‘Appellation Montreux’ has indeed become a quality label and several events are fiercely proud to be linked to it, like ‘The Montreux Tattoo Convention’, founded in 2015, or the Swiss Riviera Tourist Office, renamed ‘Montreux Rivera’ a few years ago. This label ensures all the benefits of an existing reputation, yet also brings the guarantee of quality and prestige associated with the brand. It’s the promise of a unique experience for every single visitor, a promise shared by all the key players who contribute to that experience.

These festivals are also ideal platforms for 2m2c to invite current and potential clients to enjoy a unique event in exceptional surroundings, the successes of which are directly linked to the competence and expertise of the 2m2c teams. Every year such experiences bring new contracts, like the major British pharmaceutical company choosing to hold a conference in Montreux in 2017, a direct result of the warm welcome received by the prospective delegates at the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival.

The 50th Montreux Jazz Festival in figures
• 18,000m2 of 2m2c floorspace
• 380 concerts, of which 250 were free of charge, held over 17 days
• 15 stages, 4 of which were in the 2m2c venue
• 240,000 festival-goers
• 53 bars and stands, 10 inside 2m2c
• 34 Workshops
• 480 drumheads and percussion instruments
• 2050 members of staff, including 1,644 volunteers
• Around 20,000 KWh of electricity used by 2m2c daily

The destiny of the small town with the big event
The history of Montreux Jazz Festival goes back to 1967 with the first ever edition held at Montreux Casino and lasting just three days. Back then nobody could ever have imagined the effect that this small festival, started by Claude Nobs, would have on the economy and reputation of this quiet little town on the shores of Lake Geneva. Yet this ‘Funky Claude,’ of the famous Deep Purple song would soon be booking the biggest jazz stars of the day, such as Ella Fitzgerald in 1969. In 1993 the festival moved to the Congress Centre (since renamed 2m2c) equipped with the new Stravinski Auditorium allowing for a considerable expansion of the event.

Since the end of the sixties, the number of concerts has increased from about twenty to around 400 and the number of festival-goers from a few thousand to 240,000. However Montreux Jazz Festival is not just about the numbers or the performers who’ve played there, it’s also a name synonymous with quality and the tradition of a warm welcome. Every day the Claude Nobs chalet opens its doors to artists wanting to get away from it all, to relax a little, far from the crowds, the glitz and the glamour, and to experience the charm of the Swiss mountains.

Every summer Montreux beats to the rhythm of the festival. The economic fall-out for the local hotels and businesses is so far-reaching that it benefits the entire Riviera. The town has become synonymous not jazz but with all types of music and this has helped promote Montreux worldwide.

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