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Montreux musical history in 1969


The Montreux Jazz Festival was founded 3 years ago, but jazz music is no longer really popular with young people in 1969, who prefer the new sounds of rock and pop music.

Concerned about its development and the renewal of its audience, the Montreux Jazz Festival, like the Newport Jazz Festival, which also takes place the same year, also opened its doors to rock music in 1969 during its 3rd edition. The group Ten Years After with Alvin Lee was also at the top of the bill that year.

Jazz purists scream at betrayal, adaptation is inevitable and Montreux will offer, in parallel with the Montreux Jazz Festival, rock concerts all the rest of the year under the label "Super Pop Montreux".

Raymond Jaussi, the dynamic director of the Montreux Tourist Office, then suggested to Claude Nobs to organise at least one concert per month in town. "Try to give people some entertainment in Montreux, it's a boring place..." he said.

Claude Nobs then contacted, among others, Pink Floyd, Chicago, It's a Beautiful Day, Yes, Santana, Led Zeppelin and Montreux and suddenly became the Mecca of Pop and Rock music in Switzerland under the name of Super Pop Montreux.

At that time the bands no longer wanted to go and play in Zurich or anywhere else in Switzerland, because Montreux had become the place to perform. Claude treated artists in a very personal way. They were invited to his home where they always discovered the latest in hi-fi equipment, which they loved. Claude spent time with them in the mountains, by boat on Lake Geneva or on trips in small mountain trains, so that more and more people were saying: "Well, let's go to Claude's!

Thanks to Claude Nobs, the Golden Rose Festival also reorienting its programming towards pop and rock.

Why has montreux become the capital of music ?

At the same time, the events in Paris which occurred in the late 1960s, early 1970s will amplify the phenomenon. Montreux was becoming THE music capital of Europe.

Gilles Chateau tells us: The research on the late sixties in Paris led me to find some relevant articles about three major events that took place that were extremely significant to "the cause".

I attended all three of them so I know what I'm talking about and I've read much about them in the French media to form an opinion that the "times were changing" but nobody knew which way the wind was blowing. They are:

Rolling Stones - Palais des Sports, Nov. 22, 1970
Yes, Iron Butterfly, Soft Machine - Palais des Sports, Jan. 30, 1971
Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Pretty Things, Amougies, Belgium, April 1971

The first two were marked by violent incidents of a serious scale, unthinkable nowadays and which will turn the tables and force the right wing of the time to condemn rock festivals in general on French territory, forcing bands, fans and the press to go and see what was happening outside the borders, especially on the Belgian and Swiss sides. The third event, the Amougie festival in Belgium in April 1971, was more like a debacle on the western front than an outdoor rock festival.

For six days, in the mud and under continuous rain, inside a tent that started taking water from the first day, we all thought that the wind was starting to turn and that we knew where it was going to go.

At the end of the sixth day, the dead were buried and returned to Paris with their tails down, convinced that things were going badly on the territory.

Fans, like journalists, agreed that Montreux was becoming THE music capital of Europe, a bit like San Francisco in Switzerland.

This would never have happened without the systematic expulsion of the movement outside Paris, then the capital of music in continental Europe thanks to venues such as the Olympia, La Salle Playel or the Théâtre des Champs Elysées where I had the pleasure and opportunity to see the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis and Pink Floyd in 66, 67 and 68.

The left wing had recovered the movement in the name of solidarity and the right was working to put out the fire. Each Rock concert was systematically stormed and turned into a debate on the free music and ticket prices.

But who really benefited from all this? The fans who came down to Montreux for sure. To hell with politic, let the music play.

Who is Gilles Chateau ?

Born in 1951 in Mantes la Jolie, France, Gilles studied in Versailles and then Paris, where he graduated at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués in 1971.

Due to violent confrontations that take place on a regular basis at Rock concerts in France at the time, he decides to move to Montreux after witnessing the first extraordinary concert by Led Zeppelin on Terra Helvetica in March of 1970. The cool and easy vibes experienced at the show are nothing like what he is used to in his country of birth. So he joins the hippie commune of Territet in 1971 and becomes a full time member in 1973 before hitting the road in 1974.

Gilles Chateau's accreditation badge for the 13th Golden Rose contest of Montreux 1973

Back in Switzerland in 1975 after spending a year on North and South American highways, he decides to immigrate to Canada permanently where he lives now. Gilles is the author of the book "Led Zeppelin-The Montreux Concerts". He comes back regularly to Montreux to share a glass or two with his old friends from the commune and enjoy some music at the Jazz Festival.

Gilles is curently Creative Director for Howe Brand Communications, an advertising agency in Toronto, Canada.

Discover the rest of the story, on the page: Montreux musical history in 1970


The creation of the Montreux Super Pop

Here is an excerpt from the documentary "En temps-là" broadcast on the swiss RTS channel and which focuses on the holidays of the Swiss people and more particularly on the tourist resort of Montreux.

Raymond Jaussi, director of the tourist office, talks about youth and the creation of the Montreux Super Pop festival.

Preparations for the 3rd Montreux Jazz Festival in 1969

Documentary about the preparation of the 3rd edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1969. You will discover the backstage of the setting up of the decor in the Casino de Montreux room.

Inauguration of the Montreux Jazz Festival 1969

The official speech by Mr. Raymond Jaussi director of the Montreux Tourist Office. Let's go for this third edition of the Festival, which took place from June 18 to 22, 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Montreux

In April 1969, the "Carrefour TV show" did not miss a video shooting in Montreux of the most media-intensive couple of those years: the Beatles John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Long hair, dressed all in white color, very peace and love, they got off the plane hand in hand, before spending a few days at the Montreux Palace where a certain Mr. Claude Nobs, founder of Montreux Jazz Festival welcomes them.

The sound of this documentary is missing. The commentary having been made live from a booth during its broadcast.


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