GENEVA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Claude Nobs, founder of the
Montreux Jazz Festival, one of Europe's most prestigious summer
music festivals, is in a coma after a cross-country skiing
accident during the holidays, festival organisers revealed on
The 76-year-old Swiss, who has lured some of the world's
greatest artists to Montreux - including Miles Davis, Ray
Charles and Prince - was operated on in a Swiss hospital after
his fall, it said.
"He has remained to date in a state of unconsciousness. His
condition requires further additional tests," the festival board
said in a brief statement.
The accident occurred on Christmas Eve while skiing near his
home in the village of Caux overlooking Montreux and Lake
Geneva, festival secretary-general Mathieu Jaton told Reuters.
Nobs launched the festival in 1967 while working at the
resort's tourism office. He became known as "Funky Claude", from
a line in the song "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple, about a
fire which burned down Montreux casino during a Frank Zappa
concert in 1971.
Despite heart surgery some six years ago, he remains
festival director, a position he shared during the 1990s with
American producer Quincy Jones who returns each year from Los
Angeles to introduce new talent.
Nobs often joined musicians on stage, playing harmonica,
sometimes accompanied by his dogs.
Sold-out highlights last July included concerts by Bob
Dylan, American chanteuse Lana Del Rey and British actor and
musician Hugh Laurie.
Jaton is assuming Nob's responsibilities and will ensure
smooth management of the 47th edition of the festival set for
July 5-20, the statement said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Paul Casciato)