By Matt Micucci
The 50th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival is set to run from July 1-16. Ever since its creation in 1967 by Claude Nobs, who would have turned 80 this year, the festival has been known for its memorable concerts. It has grown to become the second largest annual festival of jazz music in the world. Its cultural importance has also been recognized by UNESCO, with the inclusion of the festival’s audiovisual archive, which is composed of more than 5,000 hours of live music, in its “Memory of the World Register.”
Posters are part of the festival’s heritage. Since its inception, it has given international artists carte blanche to create artworks that have since become collectors’ items. Some of the names that have contributed to this tradition throughout the years include Tomi Ungerer, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and David Bowie.
Giovanni Riva was commissioned to make the poster of the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival, which was unveiled on February 4. With it, Riva celebrates the strong connection between the festival and visual arts. The logo, in the version of Jean Tinguely’s 1982 poster, is at the center of the artwork, placed against a midnight blue background grooved like a vinyl record. It is also made up of fragments of the 49 preceding posters, laid out in chronological order. Riva expanded on the symbolism of this concept with the construction of a monumental luminous installation piece that will be solidly rooted on the festival’s grounds throughout its 16-day long celebration of music in July.
Other projects have been conceived for this jubilee year to pay tribute to the history of the festival. One of these is an interactive video that was launched on its official website. The video offers a retrospective covering the past 49 years, edition by edition, through an interactive timeline made up of short videos. There will also be a 50th anniversary book published in June by Edition Textuel, in which the history of the festival will be told through the voices of more than 50 artists who have previously appeared at the Montreux Festival.
The program of the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival will be unveiled April 14. For more information, go to http://www.montreuxjazzfestival.com/en