After last weekend, where I spent my time at one of the most acclaimed electronic music festivals – the Caprices – of Switzerland – the Caprices – , I’m finding myself again travelling back home from another mountain destination, Zermatt. Reason for that was the closing weekend of the Zermatt Unplugged, a little quieter festival this time, with a big focus on acoustic acts, where well established musicians are the main attraction, and new talented artists have a platform to play in a very international environment.
The festival is held in Zermatt, probably one of the most famous mountain townships of Switzerland, and it runs for a whole week. Despite the locations in Zermatt’s center, there are several concerts that are played where the snow never melts, like the Gandeggahütte, where Jazz superstars from London gave their best every day at lunchtime or the stage at Sunnegga, a space dedicated to the new talents.
I had the pleasure to discover some great talents during the past two days, which I really hope to hear live again soon. After arriving in Zermatt late in the afternoon, we had bite in the centre and headed to one of the late night gigs of the evening. The young german/french band Yalta Club convinced a packed the Pink, that their happy folk can dust away every kind of sadness. Or, Swiss songwriter Tobias Carshey’s set outside right next to the Matterhorn Museum was pure magic.
|Tobias Carshey at the Matterhorn Museum|
Where’s the beach?
Personally, one of the greatest discoveries for me was a band founded in France called Sunset Sons. They started playing in the local surf bars there until they were discovered, started touring and made us very, very, happy with their latest EP “The Fall Line”, released this March. The British/Australian quartet offers songs that vaguely remind to Kings of Leons sometimes (this could also might be because of the voice of lead singer Rory), but with lighter melodies, that actually made me wanna catch the ocean breeze again (yeah, I’m still suffering from holiday blues…sorry :p) and the refrains are made to stuck into everybodys head. They’re hard to forget. Please. Come back. Soon!
|Sunset Sons at Foyerzelt|
|Me, my friend Paulo and lead singer Rory|
Main act of the festival’s last day was Travis. The well known scottish band, who is currently recording their 8th studio album, played into the total sold out main tent. Their acoustic set was very enjoyable, there were some unexpected moments here and there, like picking the wrong guitar for a song, but lead singer Fran Healy could make the audience laugh by playing with the fact that the band isn’t much used to do live gigs while being in the recording process. They surprisingly started with their massive hit “Sing”, which I was more expecting as an encore, and smoothly continued their set until they ended playing another unforgettable hit, “Why Does it always Rain on Me?”. Even it’s been a while since the release of “Sing”, they are still very influencial and an evergreen. Plus: if Travis wouldn’t have made music, a great artist like Amy Macdonald wouldn’t have been inspired to learn to play guitar and composing worldwide selling albums.
|Travis in the Main Tent (photo: Zermatt Unplugged)|
“Did you really pay to see me?”
Shocked about his own sold out at the Vernissage was british songwriter Billy Lockett. After supporting Birdy’s and Nina Nesbitt’s tour, I can imagine that it could be a weird feeling to see people coming for your music, and not for somebody else’s. Billy Lockett became famous through his Cellar Sessions on Youtube, before touring around with the ladies. He tells amazing stories and has strong lyrics, like the ones in “Pathways”, dedicated to record labels. Another thing I totally appreciated about his 1-hour set was his cover of “Budapest”. I love when an artist is also experimental with the songs of others, because they can get a total new sound. Billy was very open to the public, which really enjoyed the show, and was also avalaible for a chat and some photos. His EP is already out for purchase, but we obviously hope to be able to download a full album soon.
|The sold out Location Vernissage (photo: Zermatt Unplugged)|
|Billy Lockett (photo: Zermatt Unplugged)|
How to get here: Zermatt is reachable by train from Zurich Mainstation in approximately 3:30 hours. Please keep in mind that Zermatt is a carfree town, so I wouldn’t reccomend to get there with a vehicle. You can buy your Train tickets here.
Where to sleep: Zermatt has plenty of Hotels for every taste and budget. You’ll find the best offers over hotels.com
Zermatt Unplugged: Takes place every year in April. The festival’s line up, and so the tickets, are released very soon, mostly in December of the year before. The main acts are sold out very quickly, especially when the concerts are played in smaller venues. More information about Zermatt Unplugged and the ticket purchase is avalaible here.
Where to eat: There are plenty of places to have a good bite in Zermatt. For the young and the lovers of simple things, Sparky’s Bar is your choice. The restaurant is located into the Matterhorn Hostel and offers a small choice of food for a reasonable price. A Reservation is reccomended, due the small size of the Restaurant.
The Cuckoo Club is a high end live music and cigar lounge at night, and offers a great choice of breakfast until 2PM duringt the day. To relieve my holiday blues I chose the classic egg benedict, just because they smell like breakfast in Hawaii for me 🙂
If you like views and want to enjoy some Swiss cuisine, you totally should sit on Hotel Alpenrose‘s terrace. Their Menue doesen’t leave any wish open: Spätzli, Röst, Cheese Fondue, Raclette, Table Grill and various salads are avalaible. The biggest plus: the sun shining bright on your plate and a great panorama, Matterhorn included.