The line-up for the July 4-19 festival, unveiled on Thursday,
includes former Blur front man Damon Albarn, hip-hop duo Outkast,
the veteran Van Morrison, Massive Attack, and R&B Californian
Nobs, who died after a ski accident in January 2013, tried to
bring Wonder to Montreux, one of Europe's most prestigious
summer music festivals, but the 1 million Swiss franc ($1.13
million) purse was out of reach at the time.
At the presentation, Mauritian pianist Jerry Leonide, who opens
for French drummer Manu Katche on July 14, played a few bars of
"Superstition" as Wonder's name flashed on an electric board.
"We tried to get Stevie many times. This time we made a
collective offer through the International Jazz Festival
Organisation, along with Istanbul and North Sea in Denmark,"
Montreux festival director Mathieu Jaton told Reuters.
Seats for Wonder's concert at Stravinsky Auditorium on July 16
go on sale on Friday for a whopping 450 Swiss francs ($510),
with standing places at 185 Swiss francs. Tickets for Williams'
show on July 7 will cost either 135 or 370 Swiss francs.
American producer Quincy Jones, co-director with Nobs in the
1990s, calls Montreux the "Rolls-Royce" of festivals. This
year's budget is 25 million Swiss francs for the event that
draws some 250,000 fans to the lakeside resort.
"GET LUCKY", "HAPPY"
Pharrell Williams, booked for July 7, features on Daft Punk's
dance track "Get Lucky" with Nile Rodgers, which won the record
of the year at the Grammy Awards in January.
He is still on the airwaves with "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke,
who plays Montreux on July 13, and Williams' upbeat R & B hit
"Happy", the lead song from the "Despicable Me 2" animated film
for which he composed the music.
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"You hear Pharrell Williams everywhere on the radio and television.
He has produced incredible pieces. He is the artist we had to get
this year," Jaton told Reuters.
"Happy" returned to the top of Britain's music charts for the third
time on March 2, becoming the first single in 57 years to do so, the
Official Charts Company said.
Chris Rea returns to the Montreux stage for the first time in 14
years on July 5, Morrison plays on July 15, and Herbie Hancock and
Wayne Shorter are booked for July 18.
Mexican duo Rodrigo & Gabriela open on July 8 for Robert Plant of
Led Zeppelin fame.
"Hard rock brought them together," Jaton said of the unusual double
The festival's archives of nearly 6,000 hours of music contained on
10,000 recording tapes are being digitized to preserve the history
of Montreux concerts by jazz giants including Miles Davis, Ray
Charles and B.B. King.
"The digitizing is nearly done. The archives were recognized by
UNESCO last year as part of the world's cultural heritage," Jaton
said. "We have the same spirit and way of doing things, but of
course we miss Claude."
($1 = 0.8860 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Angus MacSwan)
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