At the beginning, there was a vision!
It was the vision to create a country music festival in Switzerland on a high artistic
level featuring top acts from the USA. Quality and quantity, all in one!
The bar was raised very high right with the inaugural festival in 1989. Too high, according to some, just right in the opinion of the two founders, Marcel Bach and Charley Werren. It turned out to be a great first festival; a cycle was set in motion. The rest is history, Swiss music history.
Meanwhile Country Night Gstaad has established itself as Europe's leading event in this music category. This is the unanimous verdict of the international trade press and music industry insiders. But so much kudos is also likely to harbor some challenges, which the entire Country Night Gstaad team tries to meet head-on year after year.
One of the factors, possibly the decisive one, for the growing popularity of the festival is a lineup almost exclusively made up of American artists. No other festival in Europe has pursued this policy more consistently than the management of the Gstaad Festival. What many may dismiss as an extravaganza is simply a rational consideration in that the reputation of an exclusive event can only be justified with an exclusive cast.
Having contributed in no small measure to the Festival's success is the ideal setting for a perfect concert experience in the unique tent construction, which is also used by the many lovers of classical music and visitors of the Menuhin Festival. The tent's acoustics is rated as outstanding, and with its imposing stage and seating capacity of nearly 3000 it also offers the visitor the comfort of concert hall seating.
Traditionally held on a Friday and Saturday night in September, with the same artists and identical shows on both nights, the Festival can rely on a highly effective intrastructure and a finely tuned organization.
Ever since the first concert, smoking, drinking and eating are barred from the concert venue, an interdiction highly appreciated by most visitors and even more so by artists. Outdoor stalls and the indoor restaurant adjacent to the concert area offer plenty of opportunities to obtain solid and liquid refreshments as well as having a smoke during show intermissions.
And when the concerts are over, the show for most visitors isn't over. The large tennis arena converted into a lavishly decorated indoor restaurant and dance hall tempts them to linger and share in some after-show fun until the small hours. The well-informed and experienced visitors hang on in the hope of enjoying a jam session with artists from the different bands on the dance hall stage.
Even Sunday is a day filled with activities everywhere. A parade through Gstaad in the latter part of the morning draws enthusiastic crowds made up of locals and visitors. A rich afternoon program for the young and young at heart with contests, performances and live music brings the day to a final climax before the evening shadows set an end to another memorable Country Night Gstaad.