For another month of fabulous festivals, Switzerland does not disappoint. Again, there is something for everyone and some would say that the best have been saved for last. It has been a hot summer so far and the weather looks to continue with high temperatures so be wise, be safe and hydrate but most of all enjoy.
Locarno Film Festival ~ 3 – 13 August ~ Locarno: Situated between Lake Maggiore and the Swiss mountains the legendary Locarno Film Festival returns for its 75th year. There will be hundreds of film premiers along with stars, new talents and professionals as it has been known for, however, this year the festival will be transforming to become a year round active platform. There are various festival passes available for young and old and films from around the world in many languages, including a decent swag of English films. The films will be shown in 14 theatres and the Piazza Grande, the large cobbled square in the heart of Locarno that can accommodate up to 8,000 viewers. “The audience is in the Piazza, the films are on the screen and the stars are in the middle, split between the sky and the stage.”
Stars in Town ~ 4 – 13 August ~ Schaffhausen: Since 2010 the rock and pop festival, Stars in Town, has been charming music fans in the old town of Schaffhausen. Grandiose concerts, numerous side events, street food and cosy bars showcase Schaffhausen as a unique and attractive tourist and cultural location. Artists such as Bryan Adams, Toto, Faithless, James Morrison and James Blunt have performed at the festival where more than 50,000 people are known to attend. After the two year pandemic break, there is a diverse and talented line up of artists including Die Fantastischen Vier, Jan Delay, Snow Patrol, Clueso, Milky Chance and Rag N Bone Man performing for an expected 35,000 people.
Brienzersee Rockfestival ~ 5 – 7 August ~ Lake Brienz, Brienz: The festival that rocks. For 30 years volunteers have been the backbone of the festival “so that we can reach our goal anew every year: hot rock on a cool lake.” The festival has set up a large marquee tent since 1988 where you can hear electrifying rock guitar music from Switzerland and around the world next to the turquoise waters of the lake. Unfortunately, Skid Row had to withdraw this year, however, Massive Wagons, will make their Swiss debut as a replacement. Tickets can be bought online through Ticketino or at the box office. Camping information and all things festival related can be found on the website.
Lucerne Summer Festival ~ 8 August – 11 September ~ Lucerne: Lucerne’s summer festival runs for five weeks featuring over 100 concerts of international classical music stars. As one of the leading international festivals of classical music, the Summer Festival is the largest of three festivals held each year. Resident orchestras and soloists alongside guest performances from international ensembles and artists can be expected. The theme for 2022 is ‘Diversity’. Tickets can be purchased for performances at the KKL, Inseli Park and Lukaskirche. There are also open-air performances ‘In the Streets’, master classes, lectures, panel discussions and a series comprising of brief concerts of 40 minutes that together create the festival atmosphere throughout the city.
Winterthurer Musikfestwochen ~ 10 – 21 August ~ Winterthur: The 47th Winterthur Music Festival will finally start again in the old town. You can expect more than 100 events with concerts on seven stages including readings, theatre, art, talks and family activities also on the program. Family days are traditionally dedicated to families and this year are on Sunday 14 and Wednesday 17 August. Food is available with dinner available from 5.30pm. The festival’s credo continues: lots of vegetarian food and only Swiss meat. Unique in Switzerland with the first nine days free with a request for contribution from everyone so the festival can function. You can Twinnt, Amore, feed the collection at the festival, become a helper, buy merch, donate cups, become a member, become a patron or take out life membership – it all helps.
Polyfon Festival Basel ~ 11 – 13 August ~ Basel: The Polyfon Festival Basel, formerly Open Air Basel, brings different genres together in the inner-city of Basel. Since 2009 the former barracks, Kasernenhof, has transformed into an atmospheric concert arena. The wooden stage will soon showcase Cate Le Bon, Pongo, Minyo Crusaders and Boy Harsher and many more. Three days of voices, perspectives and music to discover. The festival can be reached by foot, bike and public transport. There is no parking and access is blocked. The festival is committed to equality, sustainability and diversity and to be a safe space for everyone.
Heitere Openair ~ 12 – 14 August ~ Zofingen, Aargau: The Heitere is a family friendly and eco-friendly festival that began in 1991. There is camping, workshops and a versatile line-up at this cross-genre festival. Rag N Bone Man, Sido, Trettmann, Alice Merton, Milky Chance, Ofenbach and Rea Garvey are confirmed acts. In addition there will be many national and international musicians of different genres performing special evenings for the expected 35,000 visitors. The festival has a campsite available next to the arena. Enjoy three days, four stages, over 30 acts and a diverse offering of food and an incomparable atmosphere atop of Zofingen! Most tickets were sold out at the old at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020, are dated 2020, but are now valid this year.
Street Parade ~ 13 August ~ Zürich: The legendary and colourful street parade, called the “most beautiful day of the year” for hundreds and thousands of visitors from all over the world, kicks off at 13:00 at Utoquai in the neighbourhood of Seefeld. Around thirty Love Mobiles follow around the lakefront via Bellevue, Quaibrücke and Bürkliplatz, arriving at Hafendamm Enge at around 22:00. There will be after parties at Mythenquai, Bellevue, Bürkliplatz, Rentenanstalt and Limmatquai until midnight. The parade is a demonstration for love, peace, freedom and tolerance and this years slogan is ‘Think’ – “Knowledge is the yield of thoughts, and thoughts are the key for a peaceful coexistence of our cultures, no matter which religion, skin colour, origin or sexual orientation people belong.” Parties continue throughout the weekend and culture, electronic music and art encourage great enthusiasm.
Openair Gampel ~ 18 – 21 August ~ Gampel-Bratsch, Wallis: Deep in the southern Swiss Alps, the mountains meet twenty four hour a day parties, music and themed bars, near the tiny town of Gampel in the Rhone valley. The festival has previously hosted artists like Joe Cocker, Foo Fighters, The Chemical Brothers, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, Muse, The Prodigy and The Cure. Back in 1986 the small local event began with only Swiss bands and is now one of the main open air events in Switzerland with a capacity of 25,000 people. Additionally there is a fun fair, flea market and market stalls with traditional Swiss and international food and beverages. Main acts this year are US rapper Macklemore, German hit singer Mark Forster, rock veteran Limp Bizkit, Belgian DJ Lost Frequencies, rockers Nothing But Thieves and the moshpit-friendly KIZ.
Royal Arena Festival 2022 ~ 19 – 20 August ~ Orpund, Biel/Bienne: Twelve thousand fans are expected at the Royal Arena Hip Hop festival that will feature top acts Bonez MC, Raf Camora and The Game. There isn’t only international and national rap superstars on stage, but also many side events like a huge Graffiti Gallery and an impressive Breakdance Battle! The event is a merger of the Royal Openair, Täuffelen, and the Arena Festival, Orpund that occurred in 2007. The first festival took place in 1999 and it is still going strong with many legendary hip hop artists having starred through the years. This year there will be thirty two hip hop and rap acts that includes rap classics, traditional boom bap, some R’n’B, to brand new trap and UK drill – something for everyone!
Zürich Openair ~ 23 – 27 August ~ Glattbrugg, Zürich: Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Kygo are this years headliners at ZOA, now a five day festival with Tuesday added this year. The music ranges from guitar riffs to electro beats and synthesizers with international greats and local newcomers where you can expect music that is loud, quiet, mainstream and subculture. On the edge of the city, near the Zürich airport, the festival, one of the largest and most popular festivals in Switzerland, will delight festival goers with not only electronic and rock music but also food and entertainment stands. The return journey on public transport is included with tickets and camping is available for the complete festival feeling.
Jazz Night Zug ~ 25 – 26 August ~ Zug: Many of the artists who were booked to play in 2020 will regroup in similar or different groups and join the 2022 version, two years since the festival could take place. There are five stages and casino jam sessions that will host twenty national and international acts that hope to soothe and delight your ears. As one of the major events in Zug, the city, canton, individual communities and various companies and institutions financially support the festival so there is only a small charge of CHF 17.00 per evening that means the festival is accessible and affordable for everyone. As they write on their website: “Nothing beats live concerts – this applies to the musicians, but also to you, dear Jazz Night audience!”
Coop Open Air Kino events throughout Switzerland: Aarau, Arbon, Bellinzona, Brig, Delémont, Estavayer-le-Lac, Fribourg, Frick, Immensee, Kreuzlingen, Lugano, Martigny, Murten, Schloss Hallwyl, Schloss Heidegg, Uster, Wohlen, Zofingen, Zug – see website for dates and movies.