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Montreux Celebration

Freddie Mercury’s statue in Montreux


In 1996, the English Queen fan club intervened in the discussions on the construction of a statue in honour of Freddie Mercury, the operation having proved impossible in London, the Queen members with Jim Beach, their manager, opted for the city of Montreux in Switzerland.

Located in an idyllic setting on the shores of Lake Geneva and known throughout the world for its Jazz Festival. The city of Montreux has dedicated a spectacular location by the lake to place a majestic statue to perpetuate the memory of the unforgettable and great singer Freddie Mercury.

The statue of Freddie Mercury was donated to the city of Montreux by Queen's musicians and the family and friends of the late singer. It was designed by the Czech sculptor Irena Sedlecká. She now lives in London and is a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and the Society of Portrait Sculptors. You can learn more about Irena Sedlecká and the realization of the statue of Freddie Mercury by visiting this dedicated page on our website.

Visible on the video of the inauguration of the statue on the page of the same name and which traces this day, the statue of Freddie Mercury was placed on the ground in 1996 and 50 meters away from its current location. Indeed, at the time of its inauguration it was located in front of the main entrance, on the lake side of the Forum commercial centre, which at that time had not yet been built. This configuration was not adequate because regularly many dogs would come to lift a leg to do their business, so Queen Management asked the city of Montreux a few years later to move it and place it on a base about 60cm high to solve the problem.

In April 2001, major renovation work on the Market Square in Montreux forced the Montreux authorities to remove the statue while the redevelopment work was being carried out. At that time, many fans of the rock star who made the trip to Montreux couldn't find their idol and were really disapointed. The statue was kept out of sight in a secret place. The director of construction and urban planning at the time, Jean Claude Doriot, said: "If we reveal the place where it is, we would be harassed. We prefer not to say anything for insurance reasons.

On Monday, June 25, 2001, three months after its disappearance, the statue reappeared at a new location in the Market Square, at the bottom of the ten-metre long fountain, which many passers-by tried to cross without getting wet during the summer months.

The previous location had been the subject of numerous protests, as in the meantime the McDonald's fast-food chain had taken up residence behind the original location of the statue. The famous musician Thierry Lang said: "We can't associate Freddie with the McDonald's Hamburgers". Because it is true that if the original location had been preserved, depending on the angle of the shot, many of the pictures would have included the American giant's logo in the background.

The inauguration of the new Market Place in Montreux, where the Statue of Freddie Mercury now occupies a prominent place, took place on 7 and 8 September 2001.

A year later, in the spring of 2002, the Queen's leader's memorial once again moved a few metres to find its definitive location, which we all know. Now lit at night, Freddie defies time and now sets this beautiful horizon forever.

In April 2004, the town councillor, Tal Luder, proposed to rotate and orient the statue 180°, facing the city. "This would not only make the background of the pictures of the statue more attractive, but also leave more space for passers-by," he explains. But this will not happen because according to the initial wishes of the donors, the other three Queen members, Bryan May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, as well as Freddie Mercury's heritage managers, the statue must remain oriented towards the lake that Freddie Mercury loved to contemplate at the end of his life.

In 2010, the statue of Freddie Mercury underwent a major facelift, the first since the statue took up residence at the foot of the Montreux Market Square in 1996. Detailed explanations can be found in this article dedicated to its renovation.

That same year, under the advice of Norbert Muller from Montreux Celebration, a demarcated area was also set up around the statue as a sign of respect for fans who came to monteux to visit the memorial and to prevent merchants from sticking their stalls too close to the statue during the market days. Because since its inauguration in 1996, thousands of people have admired and photographed this work of art in all weathers. Rain, snow, clouds or sunsets....

On July 16, 2014, two brass plates will be replaced on the front face of the statue and another one added to the back of the Freddie Mercury statue showing the direction of the Queen Studio Experience. A page dedicated to this work is online HERE.

Thus, in addition to the recording studios, the star's apartment on the Territet side and the "Duck House", the statue of Freddie Mercury has made Montreux a true place of pilgrimage for any fan of the group and its leader.

The contrasts are magnificent and no day is like the previous one. It is not uncommon to be able to read poems written by fans or small gifts placed on the base or attached to the microphone stick. Not to mention the many flowers, often yellow, his favourite colour, which are placed daily by fans from all over the world to pay tribute to him.

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Montreux Celebration is supporting the Mercury Phoenix Trust who is fighting HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Please visit their website for more informations.

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