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Summer festivals fast selling out

Switzerland is preparing to go festival crazy. www.gurtenfestival.ch

Switzerland's summer festival season kicked off with a vengeance this weekend, with many concerts already sold out.

This content was published on July 20, 2002 - 12:12

Paléo, the country's largest open-air festival, which opens on Tuesday in Nyon, has already announced that it will be forced to turn away ticketless music fans.

More than two million music punters have attended the Paleo festival since its inaugural bash in 1972. This year's line-up features top-drawer acts such as James Brown, the Pet Shop Boys, MC Solaar and The Cure.

Menuhin Festival

Those in search of something less frenetic should head to Gstaad, where the Menuhin Festival promises the cream of classical and jazz music. The festival, which opened on Friday, runs until September 7.

Founded in 1956 by the renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin, the event takes place mainly in churches dotted around the picturesque mountain resort.

Prestigious ensembles such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Bremen Chamber Philharmonic will play everything from classic baroque to contemporary music.

The festival's director, Christoph Müller, has compiled a programme that's heavy on composers such as Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Classical sounds

Another must for classical music fans is the Verbier Festival & Academy, which also started this Friday and runs until August 4.

The winter resort town, which is best known for its challenging ski slopes, lies at 1,500m above sea level and offers festival-goers the chance to enjoy both unparalleled views of the Swiss Alps and uplifting music.

The event, founded by Martin Engstroem in 1994, features over 40 performances including classical concerts, chamber music, theatre, dance workshops and open-air events.

Blue Balls

A diverse mix of jazz, fusion and rap is on offer at this year's Blue Balls Festival, which takes place in Lucerne.

The country's largest blues festival opened its doors for business on Friday, and headline acts including funk legend George Clinton and The P-Funk All Stars, blues veteran BB King and Chaka Khan.

Blues aficionados should not miss the late night jam sessions, taking place from 11pm until 4am every night of the festival, which runs until July 27.

Later this summer, the lakeside town will also hold its annual classical music festival. Starting on August 16, the theme of this year's concert series is "Temptation", with musical interpretations of the tales of Scheherazade and Salome and operatic works such as Wagner's Parsifal.

Classical virtuosos such as Daniel Baremboim, Simon Rattle and Alfred Brendel will feature alongside some of the world's best-known orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Street Parade

Last but not least, shy and retiring wallflowers should steer clear of the 11th Street Parade, which takes place in Zurich on August 10.

Floats, laden with colourfully and outlandishly attired ravers, will flood the streets around Lake Zurich, blasting out sounds from garage and house to trip-hop.

Last year's Street Parade was the world's biggest rave party, with more than one million people taking part.

swissinfo

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