Sunny Times By The Lake

Well more than 100,000 visited the shores of Lake Lucerne for Switzerland’s nine-day Blue Balls Festival, which is on par with recent editions of the event.


In fact, promoter Urs Leierer could have repeated his pragmatic summing up of last year’s Blue Balls: “The weather was good and I didn’t lose money.”

Over a couple of decades Leierer has honed the skill of operating a sustainable (mostly) indoor festival that does about 80 percent of its capacity. In 2011 the attendance at the 18 concerts staged across the 1,000- and 1,500-capacity rooms in the KKL, the city of Lucerne’s Convention Centre, averaged about 72 percent of capacity.

The good weather is also important at Lucerne, where it’s often only a question of whether the rain will come over the hills or across the lake.

Although all the major concerts are indoors, pouring rain is hardly conducive to the carnival atmosphere and impromptu performances around the harbour.

The acts helping to keep Blue Balls rolling July 19-27 included Sohne Mannheims, Bush, Elvis Costello, Skunk Anansie, Peter Doherty, Morcheeba, Alt-J, , John Legend, Tricky, Hot Chip, Damien Rice, and Tindersticks.