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*** 5. September 2020 ***

Most of the events held so far have taken place in the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. Because we feel the need to get to know the Ticino music scene better and want to strengthen the feeling of a «Swiss Music Scene», we had the idea to organize a first edition of SAY CIAO!. We had the opportunity to do this in cooperation with CIMA CITTÀ, a part of a beautiful old chocolate factory called «Cima Norma» in the midst of the inspiring countryside in the Val di Blenio. During the course of this event we wanted to set the focus on getting to know the Ticino music scene and on the mutual exchange. The main goal is to create access to knowledge, clarify needs and explore possible collaborations. 

After postponing the edition in March due to the corona virus we were able to invite around 35 people from all over Switzerland to join us for an afternoon and evening of exchange, music and discussion. We started the day with short input presentations by three players in the Ticino music scene: Alessandra Visentini (RSI, Rete 3), Barbara Lenhoff (Peter Kernel, Camila Sparksss, On the Camper Records) and Simone Bernardoni (Bitter Moon, Pussywarmers). Afterwards we divided the participants into four small groups and let them discuss for 2 x 40 minutes at four moderated tables. The main subjects of the round tables were the following: 


What existing networks are there in the Ticino? How is exchange organized within the scene? What are the existing platforms? What works well within the scene and where should more be happening throughout Switzerland? What are the needs of the Ticino music scene? What are the needs of German and French-speaking Switzerland with regard to Ticino? What is the perception from the outside and what is the perception from the inside? How could these be improved?


What kind of collaborations are already taking place between the language regions, including the Ticino music scene & how could existing collaborations be promoted? How is the exchange with the Italian music scene? Is the focus generally mainly on Italy, as in the case of German-speaking Switzerland on Germany and French-speaking Switzerland on France? What does the exchange with other international countries look like? 


What kind of support is available in Ticino? Are they also supported by institutions throughout Switzerland or are they often omitted? What kind of support is there from the public sector? What is the significance of popular music? What about the position and promotion of professional structures? What is the function/importance of governmental bodies such as the Radio (RSI)?


What would it take to create a "feeling of Switzerland as a whole"? Do we need to work on the structures? Do we need more institutionalized exchange? Are Ticino residents interested in attending events in the German and French-speaking part of Switzerland and vice versa (e.g. m4music and Label Suisse)? Is there an overview of events in Ticino? Which ones are „important“ for the scene? What does it take to create more accessibility between the language regions?

Each round table had to write a short summary of the most important points on 3-4 Post Its which were then presented during an overall discussion at the end. All participants then received 4 stickers which they had to put on the results they found most important. We ended the day with an apéro, a dinner and the show of «Bitter Moon».

Summary of the most important results according to importance (see numbers in brackets):

  • We need more NETWORKING EVENTS! (17)

  • Large Swiss networking festivals like m4music and Label Suisse could rotate locations in order to better integrate the language regions (17)

  • National institutions like Pro Helvetia, SONART or Fondation Suisa need to take a Key Role in creating the feeling of a Swiss Music Scene and better integrating the language regions, especially the Ticino (12)

  • Lobby Work is non existent. The Ticino music scene needs help from outside. E.g. SONART (11)

  • Swiss “Tiny Desk” to get better publicity for the Swiss music scene and create a stronger national feeling (11)

  • Missing infrastructure. For a thriving music scene it needs places to connect with others = more residencies! (9)

  • Missing Knowledge: who do you have to know to get what you need and where can you get it? (7)

  • We need to build bridges between organisations and have a better and regular exchange (must be institutionalized!) (7)

  • The national broadcast (SRG SSR) should contribute more to regional exchanges. In cooperation with SONART and Pro Helvetia (6)

  • Bring experts from other regions to Ticino and support them in building stronger networks with each other (4)

  • We need a meeting point for the Ticino music scene. (3)

  • Idea: 2-Way Exchange: Tandem between Bands of different language regions (3)

  • In general the music scene needs more funding (2) 

  • More venues and promoters who take care and look after the scene (2)

  • Politics: no music schools or education for popular music just for classical music. There is not enough support in general (2)

  • The exchange takes place privately and not on an institutional level (1)

  • Musicians leave the region because the scene is not active enough (1)

  • We need a meeting Hub (1)

  • Self-Promotion / DIY: no points of contact, no bigger institutions (1)


The Ticino music scene is isolated from the rest of the country. Music does not cross borders per se - it takes a big effort to do so. It’s important to have the other language regions reach out and show interest. There is not really a feeling of the «One» unified Ticino music scene. The cities don’t really support each other and there is no general overview of the scene or THE place to meet. One of the main problems is the lack of venues and platforms within Ticino. A lot of young musicians move away, e.g. to Zurich because they can get better support. There is practically no support from the government. A Jazz Club in Lugano gets a maximum of CHF 5000.-, the rest is voluntary work. Cities like Lugano are organized by the government and not by individual promoters with a vision. That is a major problem because people from other language regions don’t travel there to see a show. And big festivals like «Moon & Stars» are run by people from the Swiss German part of Switzerland. There are also not many opportunities to do residencies in the Ticino, which is why private initiatives like Cima Città are very important to get to know, grow and support. A meeting spot or place for the Ticino music scene could be helpful, but it would take the help from outside to motivate musicians to come. There is no association representing the scene. An institution like SONART could play this kind of role. In order for the government to understand the financial and structural needs of the scene it is more than necessary for the politicians to recognize that they need to better and actively support the local scenes and strengthen professional structures. RSI is a great support for the local scene and plays a lot of Swiss music but also has a lot of ground to cover. 

It takes a lot of effort and time to do self-promotion for young bands and is especially difficult if the main national decision makers are far away from the scene and also don’t show much interest. Language is certainly a barrier for many. It’s important to build bridges and to give people access to information. One possibility would be for important festivals and platforms such as m4music or Label Suisse to rotate locations every year to better integrate the different language regions. Other ideas could be «Band-Tandems», a Swiss version of «Tiny Desk» or different kinds of collaborations. One of the main reasons for what happened with the Ticino music scene in the past 10-20 years had to do with the work of «On the Camper Records». They travelled to all the important festivals representing the scene. This was out of personal interest, though, and not structural. So it also needs the awareness of the scene to make an effort, go out and connect. 

It is easier to build connections with the Italian music scene but Ticino is not really relevant for them. It is also difficult to establish a long term business relationship because the business there is very fast moving (e.g. venues close down.). The Linecheck Festival in Milano could become more important for the Swiss scene in the future. 

We need to rethink our idea and perception of the «Swiss music scene». We need to stay interested and experience more together. 

List of Key-Events / Venues in the Ticino: 


Alessandra Visentini, RSI / Rete 3

Aline Bianchi, Norma Music

Anaïs Schmidt, Monte Mai

Axel Rüst, Cloudride / Bleu Roi

Barbara Lehnhoff, Peter kernel/Camilla Sparksss/on the camper

Bernhard Michel, Musikfestwochen Winterthur

Céline Werdelis, One Of A Million Musikfestival Baden

Damiano Merzari, Facciamo la Corte! / Pussywarmers

Daniel Fontana, Bad Bonn

David Michaud, SONART

Dominik Unternährer, B-Sides Festivalbüro

Fabian Mösch, Palace St.Gallen / OOAM / Glad We Met

Fabio Besomi, Monte Mai

Fabio Pinto, Monte Mai

Giada Marsadri, Bundesamt für Kultur

Gian-Andrea Costa, RSI Head of Events & Music

Gianmaria Zanda, Facciamo la Corte!

Jennifer Jans, SAY HI! / B-Sides Booking / m4music / Bleu Roi

Kathy Bajaria, Helvetiarockt

Kim Bollag, KimBo (Rapper)

Laurent, Norma Music

Lea Loeb, Cima Città / Theaterspektakel

Lukas von Blarer, Cima Città, Perlaton

Marcel Bieri, SAY HI! / B-Sides Booking

Muriel Rhyner, DELILAHS / Helvetiarockt

Nadia Mitic, Glad We Met + Port Franc (Sion)

Nick Werren, SONART

Nik Fischer, Glad We Met Collective GmbH / Klangwelt Toggenburg

Paride Bernasconi, Facciamo la Corte!

Réka Csiszér, Bitter Moon

Riegg Niklaus, Popkredit #zürilove

Romina Kalsi, Animor

Ronya Enzmann, B-Sides Commitee

Simon Bernardoni, Bitter Moon / Facciamo la Corte!


Stefan Breit, Cima Città

Vera Frasson, B-Sides Festivalbüro

Vitus Furrer, B-Sides

Zeno Gabaglio, RSI, SUISA Vorstand, Musikkommission TI



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