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(Credit: Stephen L Harlow)


From Patti Smith to Johnny Cash: Montreux Jazz Festival archival concert footage online


The Montreux Jazz Festival has joined the many institutions trying to make coronavirus self-isolation more entertaining and has made archival concert footage available online.

The Switzerland-based historic event, which was founded in 1967 by Claude Nob, has hosted the likes of Ray Charles, Wu-Tang Clan, Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Deep Purple, Carlos Santana and many more in its years as focal point of the European festival circuit.

While the 2020 Montreux edition of the Jazz Festival is scheduled to take place July 3–18, the Festival management said it “is closely assessing developments in conjunction with both the authorities and those involved in the organization of the event,” amid the current coronavirus pandemic. The event also added that the “team is, therefore, continuing its work, in hope and humility, to enable this year’s Festival to happen under the best possible conditions.”

The festival shelved plans to announced their forthcoming line-up and instead decided to offer their followers the chance to take a trip down memory lane with some of its iconic archival footage. “The Festival team was looking forward to unveiling today the line-up of its 54th edition,” they wrote in a letter to ticket holders. “But given the exceptional circumstances we are all currently facing, we have decided to postpone this announcement and will communicate the new date as soon as possible.”

“Concerned by the seriousness of the situation and mindful of its evolution, the Festival management is closely assessing developments in conjunction with both the authorities and those involved in the organisation of the event,” they added. “The entire Festival team would like to thank everyone who is contributing, be it directly or indirectly, to the collective effort to combat the pandemic. We also express our support and solidarity in particular with those in the cultural sector who are experiencing difficulties during this time.

“During this period, the Montreux Jazz Festival would like to bring a little magic into your home! We have made over 50 Festival concerts available to stream for free, including performances by Ray Charles, Wu-Tang Clan, Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Deep Purple, Carlos Santana, and more. You can access them for free for 30 days. We hope that a little music and soul will brighten up your day!”

The concerts will remain free to view until 30 April 2020, just click here to find out how to watch the performances in full. 

The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease was first officially identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei in China. As of March 31st, more than 788,009 cases of COVID-19 have been officially confirmed but the actual number is thought to be much higher due to substantial under-reporting of cases.

With more than 37,856 people having died from the virus, COVID-19 has now spread into more than 180 other countries—including mainland Europe, South America and many more. Given the exponential growth in cases in countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the UK, the WHO stated that Europe became the epicentre of the pandemic after the strict lockdown in China saw reduced numbers. Now, however, as the virus continues to spread aggressively across The United States—who have more confirmed cases than any other country—the epicentre of coronavirus is expected to be officially changed to North America.