In July 2016 the BALOISE SESSION lost its devoted, innovative President and festival founder, Matthias Müller, who passed away at the age of 51 after a serious illness. His long-time business partner and CEO Beatrice Stirnimann, the Members of the Board and the entire BALOISE SESSION-Team will continue to run the festival – his life's work – in accordance with his wishes, and in honour of his memory.
Matthias, your festival team will hold you for ever in their hearts!
New name, same boutique festival
With the festival name BALOISE SESSION, a fresh corporate design and the modern Event Hall of the Basel Fair, a new era began for the music festival. With Opening Night on 25 October 2013 the first BALOISE SESSION kicked off with a bang.
(f.l.) Michael Müller (CEO «Basler Versicherungen»), Ritschi, Matthias Müller, Beatrice Stirnimann
Goodbye AVO SESSION Basel – Welcome BALOISE SESSION
During the construction of the new event hall, the AVO SESSION Basel took place at the Musical Theater Basel with concert seating. The 2012 festival edition marked the end of the current festival name and the festival's partnership with presenting sponsor AVO Cigars. It was announced that starting in 2013, the festival would be called BALOISE SESSION with the new presenting sponsor Baloise and would take place at the Congress Center Basel in the new event hall designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
(f.l.) Beatrice Stirnimann, Avo Uvezian, Matthias Müller, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard (CEO Oettinger Davidoff Group)
the music festival makes history
An anniversary book commemorating the 25th anniversary of the music festival was published in 2011. This high quality edition chronicled the highlights of 25 years of thrilling festival history with captivating photos and fascinating stories. Without the loyal support of our «Friends of the AVO SESSION Basel», this book would not have been possible.
First Eurovision live broadcast
The live broadcast of Elton John’s concert throughout Europe marked the international television breakthrough of the festival. Swiss TV records all of the concerts and many are broadcasted on all five continents in collaboration with the television marketing company "C Major Entertainment GmbH". Swiss Radio SRF also regularly broadcasts the concerts live or prerecorded.
Sir Elton John
20 years of success as a music festival
After 20 years, the festival had established itself as a European festival. The festival won the International Sponsoring Award presented by FASPO in the culture category. Major headliners took the stage that year: Seal, Status Quo, Vaya Con Dios, Simply Red and a-ha.
the Rheinknie Session becomes AVO SESSION Basel
AVO Cigars became the new Presenting Sponsor of the music festival in 1998, which was then renamed AVO SESSION Basel. With a new name, the festival also had a new, more international focus. At the same time, the festival management began to combine first class performers with exclusive social events to create an incomparable music experience.
the festival presents music styles from jazz to funk
The music festival, which had first focussed on blues, jazz and gospel, opened itself up to other music styles in 1995. With a new mix, including world music, soul and funk as well as internationally successful artists, the festival started to appeal more and to a younger audience and also gained in prestige.
breakthrough with international star Miles Davis
The national breakthrough came when jazz legend Miles Davis performed at the festival in 1988. Music lovers from all over Switzerland came to Basel and experts in the music scene discovered the festival. Claude Nobs, one of the founders of the Montreux Jazz Festival, was so enthusiastic about the festival that he immediately decided to become a patron.
the Rheinknie Session is born
IBasel, May 1986: The first Rheinknie Session was born. Five sold out concerts thrilled music fans from northwestern Switzerland with artists like Oscar Peterson, Albert Collins and Koko Taylor. The founders of this successful concert series were Enrico Bonometti, Matthias Müller and Stephan Werthmüller. The three music lovers from the region had already made a name for themselves by organizing jazz, blues and rock concerts.