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12 top summer music festivals around Switzerland

Street Parade
Street Parade

Elton John and Thom Yorke in Montreux, open-air opera in St Gallen, free jazz in Lugano, African sounds in Lausanne… Here's where to get your groove on this summer.

 

Fête de la Musique

Enjoy jazz, rock, soul and classical concerts in locations around Geneva at this annual festival. This year’s emphasis is on musical collaboration – and there’ll even be a temporary recording studio set up in Parc des Bastions for musicians to create a work together. Various venues around Geneva. Jun 21-23. 

 

Open Air St Gallen

OpenAir St Gallen

Switzerland’s first outdoor music festival returns. Prepare for big crowds and even bigger names, including Florence and the Machine, The 1975 and Brockhampton. Sittertobel, St Gallen. Jun 27-30.

 

St Galler Festspiele

Calling all culture vultures: St Gallen Abbey District’s monastery courtyard once again becomes the picture-postcard setting for outdoor opera, orchestral concerts and dance performances. St Gallen. Jun 28-Jul 12.

 

Montreux Jazz Festival

 Montreux Jazz Festival 

‘Jazz festival’ may be misleading. While the genre forms the basis of the programming, this world-renowned festival also features club events, guitar music and huge names such as Elton John, Thom Yorke, Tom Jones and many others. Various venues around Montreux. Jun 28-Jul 13.

 

Lugano Estival Jazz

This annual series of free-to-attend gigs in Lugano’s old quarter is largely jazz focused and draws huge crowds. Book accommodation early if you’re coming from out of town. Piazza della Riforma, Lugano. Jul 4-6.

 

Gurtenfestival

Gurten crowds favour electronic music, but that hasn’t stopped soul legend Lauryn Hill topping this year’s line-up. Also high up on the 2019 bill: German duo Claptone, US rapper Action Bronson and young British producer Mura Masa. Gurten, Köniz. Jul 17-20.

 

Lausanne Afro Fusions Festival

Experience live African sounds from Botswana to Senegal and Morocco alongside crafts, fashions and other activities at this amazing and educational four-day festival. Best of all it’s free! Place de l’Europe, Lausanne. Jul 18-21.

 

Paléo Festival

Major names at this multi-genre fest, which attracts a more mature crowd, include Christine and the Queens, Lana Del Rey, The Cure, Twenty One Pilots and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Plaine de L’asse, Nyon. Jul 23-28.

 

People in the City

If you’re craving an epic warm-up party for Swiss National Day, this is your event. Twelve hours of house and techno from established names including Jan Blomqvist and Gerd Janson await – and it’s all over by 2am so you can be fresh(ish) for August 1. Raving and behaving? Check. Halle Solstis, Avenue de Sévelin 40. Jul 31-Aug 1.

 

Buskers Bern Street Music Festival

Over three nights the streets of Bern’s Old Town host around 150 street performers from across the globe. Wander the acts and show your appreciation by tipping directly into their hats. Old Town, Bern. Aug 8-10.

 

Openair am Bielersee

This festival on the banks of Lake Biel features great music, but also go for the quirky street performers, which are kind of its USP – everything from fire breathers to jugglers and more. Strandwiese Vinelz, Vinelz. Aug 9-11.

 

Dubfire

Street Parade

Although the first Street Parade dates back to 1992, the free-to-attend dance music blow-out around Lake Zurich still feels central to the city’s summer experience. Join hundreds of thousands as two-dozen music-system-clad trucks and nine stages dish out the bangers. This year's guests include US producer Dubfire (above). Utoquai, Zurich. Aug 10. 

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