See You in London
The Montreux Jazz Café concept keeps on growing. After Geneva in 2008 and Zurich last year, a third Café outside of Montreux will be opening in London on the 17th of July, within the walls of the prestigious luxury retailer Harrods. The doors will open about ten days before the beginning of the Olympic Games, which is not a coincidence. “We made sure we would be ready before the Games, in order to benefit from their visibility,” explains Laurent Buri, operations manager for the Montreux Jazz Café. The grand opening is planned for October.
The latest Montreux Jazz Café will be situated on the third floor of the London landmark, next to a music store – it was meant to be! The 2500 square feet are divided into three spaces. The main room of the Café, a restaurant with an open kitchen and a 70-seat capacity, will welcome the diners. Details make all the difference, and so gourmets will be able to choose their meal on menus shaped like vinyl records. On the merchandising front, a Montreux Jazz Shop will offer all the Festival classics, and ‘Claude’s Collection’ will make available an exclusive line of official Montreux Jazz Festival products. There will also be a Funky Claude’s Lounge for those looking for relaxation.
Viewing screens will be placed all over in order to broadcast the best moments of the Festival. The themes and colors – declined in purple tones – have been harmonized with the existing Montreux Jazz Café locations. Buri sums up the atmosphere of the new Montreux Jazz Café in three words: “intimacy, music, and relaxation.” He goes on: “The idea is to reproduce the ambiance of the Festival for the pleasure of our guests. The main challenge has been to harmonize the atmosphere of Harrods with our music.”
Establishing a foothold in London has three advantages for the Montreux Jazz Festival. As Buri explains: “Musically speaking, London is one of the most important cities not just in Europe, but worldwide. It is also a major tourism destination. Finally, Harrods is the absolute reference in terms of luxury.” It has not been easy to get a foot in the door of this world-famous department store. It took more than eighteen months to convince the executives of this exclusive club, reserved for only the very best brands, to host a Montreux Jazz Café.
After London, other Montreux Jazz Café locations will be inaugurated in Paris-Gare de Lyon in 2013 and at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in 2014, as part of the digitalization project of the Montreux Jazz Festival archives. However, willy-nilly expansion is out of the question. “We are not aiming to become the new Hard Rock Café,” explained Peter Rebeiz, president of Montreux Jazz International, ten days ago in the columns of the Montreux Jazz Chronicle (see our edition of 4 July 2012).
Buri is highly confident that the Montreux Jazz Café in London will be welcomed warmly: “The Festival is very well known internationally. Everyone has already heard of Montreux Jazz!”
by Benjamin Keller
translated by: James Tarpleypublished on Montreux Jazz Chronicle nu.16