What to visit | 17 July, 2018

Summer festivals in Switzerland: art and music in the mountains

Cristina Albuja Operational Risk

With the arrival of summer and the good weather, art and music come outdoors into Switzerland’s mountains and lakes. Summer festivals are also a refreshing alternative on those balmy alpine nights. Here at BBVA in Switzerland we recommend a selection of three festivals in our offer of Unique Experiences to complement your visit to our offices.

The natural scenarios selected as venues for the festivals are in most cases set amid spectacular landscapes of impeccably conserved mountains and lakes.

A common and unusual feature in this small country is the fact that you can get really close to the artists. Switzerland offers these creators a tranquility that is in short supply in other parts of the world. It is not absurd to imagine yourself exchanging a few words on a terrace with Suzanne Vega, sunbathing beside Roman Polanski, discussing the eve of the concert with Herbie Hancock or passing a relaxed-looking Neil Young when you’re out doing a little shopping.

Zurich: a commitment to German cinema

Every autumn since 2005 the Zurich Film Festival has come up with a program to satisfy all film lovers. In three international competitions, leading filmmakers compete for the ‘Goldene Auge’. The ‘Fokus’ festival gives centre stage to Swiss, German and Austrian films.

And outside the competition, the Festival presents the most eagerly awaited commercial films and interesting discoveries in various complementary disciplines. The public has a chance to rub shoulders with film stars and young directors thanks to the film screenings in the presence of the filmmakers and public debates.

Locarno: 8,000 seats under the sky

Cinema speaks Italian in the first half of August. Locarno, this small town on the shores of Lake Maggiore, becomes transformed into one vast open-air cinema.  The festival dedicated to the seventh art in this city is the second oldest in Europe after Venice.

Its great attraction is that the Piazza Grande ceases to be the peaceful square where its inhabitants stroll up and down to become a vast open-air projection room seating 8,000 people, who for two weeks enjoy films and galas with an international scope.

It could be said that what sets this great small festival apart is its predilection for films that are somewhat removed from the conventional and commercial circuits, achieving a balance between art and commerce.

Montreaux: Jazz by the lakeside

We can’t pass the opportunity to speak about the Montreaux Jazz Festival, which for two weeks brought together the best artists in the genre. This event is one of the main international attractions in the Alpine Confederation and celebrates its 52nd year.

Founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs, this musical event offers much more than jazz, and features pop and rock acts in its line-up.  The shores of Lake Geneva resound these days to the likes of Jamiroquai, Nick Cave, Gilberto Gil and Iggy Pop. But the big surprise this year was the actor Johnny Depp, who took to the stage in the Stravinski Auditorium alongside Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, the guitarist of Aerosmith, as part of a surprising project entitled ‘Hollywood Vampires’.