I have been there so often, and it is very easy to think, ok, here we go again. But, unlike some other often visited cities, each time I see the town and the surrounding area, so many memories come flooding back to me:
The Montreux Palace Hotel, home to Freddie and myself, for so many visits during the early part of my time with him.
The view from the hotel, stunning vistas of Lake Geneva (Leman) and the French Alps, no wonder Freddie was able to come up with such wonderful songs!
The friendliness of the town itself, where Freddie felt safe and anonymous enough to walk from the hotel to the studio.
Freddie being Freddie was always quick with his wit and often had put downs ready about the town. ‘You’ve seen one mountain, you’ve seen them all’, ‘how many swans do you need to see?’, but he was also very happy to spend much time there, particularly in the latter years of his life. The place really gave him the peace of mind and soul that he needed to complete the work he had left in him up to the time of his death.
Montreux has a recent history steeped in music. The Montreux Jazz Festival celebrates it’s 40th anniversary in 2006, the Septembre Musical, a classical music festival has been there for 10 years. Well known songs ‘Smoke on the Water’ have been written about it, great songs, ‘Under Pressure’ were created there. When you are in the town you can feel the atmosphere and have no doubts at to why these things happen here.
Freddie Mercury’s Montreux Memorial Day. This event will now celebrate its 5th year. Each year Rita and Norbert have come up with new and exciting things for everybody to see and hear.
2004 brought a work shop with David Richards, the Dutch band Miracle and I, with Dave discussing technical points of the songs and me giving an insight to the personal side of recording.
2005 presented the fans with a show by a local Arts college using Queen songs, very loosely tied together with storylines.
2006: for the 10th anniversary of the statue and the 60th birthday of Freddie, we put together a special programme (I say WE because this year I officially joined The Association of Montreuxmusic with Rita and Norbert). It was especially wonderful for us as we were able to welcome Jer Bulsara, Freddie’s mother, and Kashmira Cooke, Freddie’s sister, along with her husband, Roger, to enjoy the festivities on the Saturday. We were also proud to have with us Rudi Dolezal, David Richards, Jim Beach and Claude Nobs. I presented the Saturday evenings concert in the Stravinsky Auditorium, the first part was taken by Thierry Lang, virtuoso pianist who played his compositions for the film ‘The Untold Story’ along with a piece, composed specially for us. The second part of the evening was the ‘QUEEN SYMPHONY’ conducted by its composer, Tolga Kashif.
2007 : I hope that all you faithful fans will come together again this year on 7th & 8th September, when we are organizing a couple of really great surprises to go along with the wonderful music of Queen, played this time by THREE different groups!
I look forward to seeing you all there then!
2008: Hello Everybody,
It’s coming to the end of the scheduling time again! We have been talking to various people over the last few months and there is light at the end of the tunnel. We have some surprising people confirmed, and we hope to unveil the programme for this years Freddie week-end within the next few weeks, and be sure that there will be some exciting events. As you know, it will be taking place on the 5th and 6th September, and due to venue restrictions, there will be a limit to participants, so start planning now!
2009 : It's nearly time for the FREE Freddie Mercury's Montreux Memorial Day. These couple of days should be fun! There will be a 'first' with one of the bands at the NED, and also a competition for the first time!
One of the reasons it is free this year is, as many of you know, because it will be the last one in this format, and we wanted to say thank you for all your support over the years. This does NOT mean this is the last event to take place here in this wonderful town. We have started with the 'Montserrat Weekend' in November, and we are already talking about a couple of things for next year and 2011!
We are looking forward to welcoming you all, new friends and old, at the Statue of Freddie in the Market Place on the morning of 5th September!!