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Musical mixture in Montreux

The Blues Brothers get the crowds on their feet during the opening night of the Montreux Jazz Festival Keystone

The 34th Montreux Jazz Festival swung into action on Friday evening with Huey Lewis opening 15 days of pure delight for music lovers. A galaxy of stars will be performing this year, and as usual there is a programme which offers much more than jazz.

The 49-year old Lewis got the crowd into festival mood with some of his most famous hits from the 1980s, including “Power of Love” and “The Heart of Rock’n’Roll”.

Next up on stage were the Blues Brothers, who had the audience dancing to the old Eddie Floyd crowd-pleaser “Knock on Wood”.

This year’s festival is expected to attract 200,000 visitors, and several of the evenings in the Auditorium Stravinski,including the opening night, are already sold out.

Tickets are hard to come by for the homage to the French song writer, Serge Gainsbourg, on July 9, and a performance by the American singers Lou Reed and Suzanne Vega on July 13. But there are still plenty of free places for the Brazilian nights on July 15 and 16.

“It will be the biggest-ever mixture in its history,” says Claude Nobs, the founder and director of the festival.

Nobs went on to list what he said were just some of the musical genres which would be heard during the 16-day event – jazz, rock, blues, soul, pop, world, funk, reggae, electronic, hip hop and Latino.

Other performers, include BB King, Macy Gray, Al Jarreau, Ute Lemper, Manhattan Transfer and Youssou N’Dour and Deep Purple.

Not all the entertainment is in the two venues, Auditorium Stravinski and the Miles Davis Hall. Up-and-coming young artists will also be giving open air concerts alongside Lake Geneva in what’s known as the “off festival”. This involves over 350 performances free of charge.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR