Sion Festival 2021: well attended and not bothered by Covid


The curtain fell on the Sion Festival 2021 on Sunday, September 5, after three weeks of well-attended concerts and shows, totalizing about 4’800 spectators, a slight decrease of only 3% compared to the 2019 edition. The “Musique en fête” day took place under a radiant sun, in honor of the theme chosen this year – Viva Italia – and attracted near 1’000 curious in the old town of Sion.


“It was a festival of reunions”, commented General Manager, Olivier Vocat. “It was a reunion between the artists and the live music on stage, a reunion with the audience, who rediscovered the powerful experience of attending concerts, and a reunion for our team, who really outdid themselves and were happy to overcome the frustration of last year’s missed experience”.


“A small miracle in the current circumstances”, said Pavel Vernikov. For our Artistic Director, the success of a festival is based on “professional organization and careful work of artistic programming”.


Pavel Vernikov had, once again, concocted an eclectic program encouraging you, dear spectators, to wander off the “classical” path. And you certainly delivered. The Gabriadze Puppet Theatre filled the Petitheatre twice while the concert of the Rustavi Ensemble was practically “sold out” in the Cathedral during the first week, which honored Georgia.


The second week had other highlights in store for you: an audacious and moving version of Bizet/Daudet’s Arlésienne by the Ensemble Agora and the actress Anne Girouard, comic sketches and musical prowess around Beethoven by Igudesman&Joo, and the joyful encounters of classical music with other styles imagined by the Quintetto Bislacco.


Janine Jansen twice enchanted us in a nearly full Ferme-Asile. The Dutch violinist was the company of musician friends – such as Svetlana Makarova, Timothy Ridout, Daniel Blendulf and Torleif Thedéen. Other stars of the international scene – Sergei Babayan, Kolja Blacher, Sergej Krylov, Julia Zilberquit – also delighted us with “great” classical music.


The festival also made room for contemporary creation, including a work by the Swiss composer Richard Dubugnon, written for Janine Jansen and performed as a world premiere under the baton of Gilbert Varga – son of Tibor Varga. The Tibor Varga International Violin Competition 2021 punctuated this last festival week.


Covid did not disturb the 56th edition of the Sion Festival. The artists arriving from abroad were all tested negatively. We remind you that we had chosen not to impose the Covid certificate, but to limit the capacity of the halls to two thirds and to require the wearing of masks.  “A big thank goes to the spectators, the artists and all the staff who followed the guidelines and respected the sanitary norms, thus proving that it is possible to organize a cultural event in complete safety”, rejoices Fabien Girard, Festival Administrator.


We look forwards to next year from August 19 to September 4, 2022, for a new edition at the Théâtre de Valère in Sion. See you soon!