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Zermatt Unplugged – When the village becomes the festival stage

The annual Zermatt Unplugged festival comes around again for the fourth time from the 12th – 16th April 2011. Against a magnificent background of mountain scenery and amongst spring snow, international superstars and newcomers will be rocking the Matterhorn village on eight festival stages over a period of four days. And they will only be using acoustic instruments. An inspiration for the musicians. A real pleasure for visitors. 

Top stars will also be appearing in 2011: Seal, Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp, David Gray, OneRepublic, Marc Sway and Sina will ensure some great moments in Zermatt in the main marquee and in the Club Vernissage. The complete programme, with ten great acts and ten other newcomers on the smaller stages, will be announced soon. 

When it first started in 2007, the Zermatt Unplugged Festival was a small series of concerts in the Club Vernissage in Zermatt. In April 2011, however, the festival stages will be spread all over the village, as well as in the ski area, and there is also the “New Talent Stages” concept – small locations as places in which the talents of young Swiss artists can be promoted. Six stages in hotels, restaurants and clubs (Cervo, Alex, Pink, Elsie's Bar, Foyerzelt) are only a few minutes away from each other on foot. A new highlight is the “Blue Lounge” at Blauherd in the ski area below the Rothorn. 

World stars in the gourmet destination Zermatt 
Lionel Richie has already been here – he loves the fresh alpine air, Billy Idol rocked with a double bass and claves, and Alanis Morissette recalls her ski holiday. Since 2007, international stars and newcomers have been appearing here in April. Zermatt Unplugged may still be young, but it triggered a great national and international media echo as early as its third edition in 2010. It nevertheless remains an intimate and exclusive event at an altitude of 1,620 metres above sea level, taking place in a circus marquee and in the Club Vernissage, as well as six other locations that can be reached on foot within a few minutes.
The atmosphere is unique, and is a real pleasure for the eyes and the ears - because the inhabitants of Zermatt celebrate their festival with a marvellous sense of hospitality. The main marquee thereby becomes the “Temple” (so called by Lionel Richie), while the Foyer Tent is the place-to-be, with a smaller stage, a bar, a VIP lounge and food stands at which the gourmet stronghold of Zermatt shows its true face. Zermatt not only offers exclusive music during the festival, but is also the gourmet place where guests can experience the accumulated expertise of 233 Gault Millau points and one star in the Michelin Guide in 17 exclusive restaurants, both in the village and on the ski slopes. 

Why Unplugged? 
In 2007, the festival director Thomas Sterchi, the leaseholder of the Zermatt restaurant “Heimberg” and an entrepreneur in the entertainment field, had the idea of staging a singer and songwriter festival. Working together with Marco Godat, today’s Production Manager, it was decided to widen the concept in order to cater for the diversity of Zermatt’s guests. In a subsequent conversation, Chris von Rohr, songwriter and founder member of the former Swiss hard rock band Krokus, then brought the idea of „Unplugged“ into play. This concept has borne fruit at Zermatt Unplugged in the last few years: from barefoot musicians with guitars (Jason Mraz, 2010) through pianists with orchestras (Jon Lord Ex-Deep Purple, 2007) and up to and including double bass instead of electric bass guitar (Billy Idol, 2010) – no limits have been set to the performances.

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