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Music of various kinds tops the agenda at festivals in and around Lugano. The season opens in mid-April with eight or nine weeks of the Primavera Concertistica, a classical programme of renowned soloists and orchestras performing in the main Congress Centre; tickets (Fr.20–100) and schedules can be had from the tourist office. In early July, Estival Jazz (Summer Jazz) covers a series of free concerts in Mendrisio, Tesserete and Lugano that have been running for decades: in the 1950s, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach and Ornette Coleman all played at Lugano, and in the 1960s the festival featured some of Keith Jarrett’s earliest performances.
The end of July sees two huge firework displays over the lake, with the Italian enclave of Campione throwing down the gauntlet on July 24 and Lugano itself responding a week later for Swiss National Day on August 1. The Blues to Bop and World Music Festival in early September is another free event.