Switzerland events and music festivals - Geneva 2014

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Geneva is the second largest city of Switzerland in terms of population and one of the most ‘international’ cities of Europe.

Home to the European headquarters of United Nations and plentiful NGO’s, Geneva is also a major center of finance in Europe and the seat of many multinational companies.  

The cultural offer of the city on the Lake Geneva is thriving too, mesmerizing visitors with a large choice of festivals and events.

Whether you are a diplomat, business traveler or a tourist, do not miss out on the most interesting cultural initiatives to be experienced in Geneva in 2014.

See map of Switzerland.

Geneva Festival (Fêtes de Genève) - Geneva for children 
The Geneva Festival, known locally as Fêtes de Genève, is unquestionably one of the most animated events in the entire Switzerland and a true highlight of Geneva summer.

Held annually in July/August, the Geneva Festival consists of over a hundred of free music concerts, taking place on several stages across the city and of a range of accompanying events, amongst them parades, funfair, firework display, boat races and many, many more.

Very popular amongst visitors is the Lakefront Festival. Organized within Fêtes de Genève, the Lakefront Festival is an adrenaline-pumping display of water-sports, such as waterskiing and jet-ski shows.

The festivities last for several days in different locations of the city, allowing the visitors to get familiar not only with the city of Geneva, but also with culture, tradition and cuisine of different countries.

Usually one country is invited to have a special participation during the festival. As a ‘guest of honour’ of Fêtes de Genève, it will have a chance to present the best it has to offer through a variety of initiatives, exhibitions, concerts, culinary shows, etc.

Additionally, the visitors can try delicacies from all over the world at the inumerous food stalls provided. 

Montreux Jazz Festival
The second largest jazz festival worldwide is takes place every July in the town of Montreaux, situated approx. 60 miles from Geneva, on the opposite bank of the Geneva Lake.

See map of Geneva-Montreux-Lausanne area around Lake Geneva.

Founded in 1967 as a purely jazz event, the festival has gradually expanded the scope of featured music genres to rock, blues and soul.

Amongst the famous musicians and groups having performed at Montreux Festival are: Al di Meola, Carlos Santana, Chick Corea, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Pat Metheny, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield and many, many more.

Find out more about Montreux Music Festival, Switzerland.

The access to Montreux from Geneva is easy, either by car or by train, and the views along the way - breathtaking. The region stretching between Lausanne and Montreux known as Lavaux is particularly beautiful and the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

La Bâtie Festival Geneva
La Batie is and interdisciplinary festival of theatre, music, dance and performing arts, held in Geneva every year in September. 

Attending the array of events accompanying the festival is a wonderful way to get to know the city: the La Bâtie concerts, theatre plays and exhibitions take place in different venues across the city, including museums, university auditoriums and in public spaces.

More information about La Bâtie Festival – programme (in French only).

Rose d’Or Festival Geneva
The so called Rose competition, held in Geneva every year on a fourth Monday of June is one of the most eye-pleasing events taking place in the city.

The festival brings rose growers from all over the world to Geneva to display their most beautiful varieties and to compete for prizes. If you miss the Geneva rose competition in June, you still have the whole summer to enjoy the winning species of roses as they are planted after the competition in the Parc La Grange.

Russin harvest and wine festival - Geneva
Fête des Vendanges (grape harvest festival) is a two-day event held every September in Russin, 7 miles west of Geneva. The festival celebrates local tradition and wine production through a number of attractions and activities, amongst them wine tasting, traditional gastronomy shows, crafts, parades and activities for children.

The town of Russin can be accessed from Geneva by road, or, very conveniently, via rail link, by a 15 minutes train ride.

See location of Russin near Geneva.

Geneva l’Escalade festivities
In the winter season Geneva offers unusual attractions for tourists, too.

Fête de l'Escalade is an annual event held in December recreating a failed attack on the city-state of Geneva in the 17th century.

On the night of 11 of December 1602, the Savoy troops conducted by the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel, intended to enter and take over the prosperous Geneva, by climbing (climb is escalade in French) on the city ramparts. The attack faced a strong resistance of the Genevois, who fought alongside the city's army. According to the legend, one of the Geneva’s inhabitants, a women known as Mère Royaume, set an example for other defensors of Geneva, by pouring a cauldron of hot soup on the heads of the attackers, who were eventually defeated.

Every year, on the night of 12 of December (or the closest weekend), this historical event is recreated in great detail and celebrated by a range of festive activities, including parades, open air parties and a street race, Course de L’Escalade .

See below a video presenting the L’Escalade festivities in Geneve.

 Find more information about Course de L’Escalade in Geneva.

Geneva Winter Carnival
The end of the winter season is welcomed in Geneva with the carnival festivities which take place every year in February.

Geneva winter carnival is especially fun for children and young people who will be amused by the vast choice of activities, including mask making and costume parades.

Play urban golf in Geneva
Urban golf, a growingly popular modality in many European capitals has made its debut in Geneva in 2012. Given its great success and a very positive response from both tourists and locals, urban golf is likely to become one of the regular leisure events in Geneva.

The initiative brings golf, considered traditionally to be an elite sport, to the wider public with a free equipment rental. The Geneva course set along the banks of Geneva Lake lasts about two hours and includes some of the most beautiful areas of the city, amongst them: Jardin Anglais, Brunswick Monument and Promenade de la Traille.

Palexpo Geneva - International Motor Show
A good number of popular Geneva events of international recognition is held in the convention centre Palexpo.

A premier venue for trade shows and exhibitions offers to, both organizers and guests, state-of-the-art facilities and modern technology.

The Palexpo complex is located right next to Geneva Cointrin Airport and in a short distance from Genevea city centre (approx. 3 miles).

See the up-dated calendar of events at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland.

On of the most popular events of Palexpo is the International Motor Show where visitors have opportunity to admire many rare and stylish vehicles, including the premiers of new models.

See the new models of Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and more presented at Geneva Motor Show 2013:

 The Motor Show Geneva is usually held in March.

See also: Calendar of Geneva events and festivals in 2015.

Switzerland events and music festivals - Geneva 2014
Article: Switzerland events and music festivals - Geneva 2014
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