A winter version of the highly successful Worldwide Festival held in France, showcasing the best names in electro, house, nu disco and drum and bass.
With the third winter edition of his Worldwide Festival touching down in Leysin, superstar DJ Gilles Peterson is challenging discerning Swiss dance music lovers to stand up for their club rights.
‘To be honest, Switzerland needs a good kick up the arse right now,’ says the half-Swiss, London-based DJ Gilles Peterson, whose record labels, radio shows and 100-plus compilation CDs have made his a global dance music name over more than 30 years in the game. ‘In terms of its clubs, it’s stuck in that tired old model of aping either Ibiza or Berlin, and it’s so boring. That’s why I’m really happy to see that, along with the usual large contingent of club-savvy Brits, plus some French and Belgians, many more Swiss people have bought tickets for Worldwide than in previous years.’
A winter spin-off of the highly successful summer Worldwide Festival which will this July celebrate its 10th edition in Sète on France’s south coast, next week’s event in Leysin, high on steep, south-facing slopes over the Rhone Valley, will bring together electro, dubstep, house, nu disco, drum and bass, footwork and more across a DJ line-up headlined by UK house prodigy Julio Bashmore, dub-reggae don David Rodigan and Croatia’s Eddy Ramich. Expanding its guest capacity to around 1000, the still-intimate festival will also stir a handful of live sets into the mix, introducing Jesse Hackett, the multi-instrumentalist Gorillaz bandmate of Damon Albarn, and the German acoustic techno maestros Brandt Brauer Frick.
With tickets available on a per-night basis, or bundling gigs with heavily discounted lift passes for the Vaud resort’s modest but picturesque 60km of ski slopes, Worldwide Festival is a friendly, laid-back affair that Peterson and his team have taken care to integrate with the town, working closely with local businesses. The daily après-ski DJ sets, which include Peterson himself playing on the closing day, are sure to be a suitably eclectic and euphoric climax and are free and open to all. Free too are the soulful, disco-tinged sets at mid-mountain restaurant Les Fers by Parisian underground radio DJ collective Le Mellotron which last year saw the party start each day at lunchtime, with festival goers and Leysin natives busting moves in full-beam spring sunshine.
‘I got my taste for music festivals not far from Leysin,’ says Peterson. ‘Visiting my brother who was studying in Lausanne, I’d hitchhike to the Montreux Jazz Festival along the lake shore when I was 13 or 14. Years later, I curated a stage for them for that event for ten years, bringing in the likes of Mos Def, Madlib, Cinematic Orchestra and Roni Size to shake things up a bit, which was an amazing time for me. So that’s another reason I want to bring some avant-garde music to Switzerland. Alex Dallas’ wicked night at Zukunft in Zurich shows that there’s an appetite for it. So come on, Swiss clubbers, let’s kick out this lowest-common denominator Ibiza/Berlin rubbish and have a proper dance.’
A pass for the festival week, which includes a ski pass, is €120. A weekend festival pass including a three-day ski pass is €80. Night party tickets are €20.