Montreux Jazz Festival founder and CEO Claude Nobs accepted the Midem 2007 Personality Of The Year award at a glittering gala dinner in Cannes, France last night (Jan. 22).
Many top executives from the MIDEM music conference were at the Carlton Hotel to pay tribute to a man who has been attending the 41-year-old confab since the very beginning.
They got to hear musical tributes from acapella vocal group Naturally 7 and vocalist Randy Crawford. Nobs even got to play at his own tribute, joining Crawford for one song on his trademark harmonica.
In his acceptance speech, Nobs described the award as "like a dream" and also regaled the crowd with tales of many of the legendary artists who have performed at his festival in Switzerland. Festival performers have included the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and David Bowie.
"Crawford paid tribute to Nobs as bringing "joy to us year after year" and, in a video message, producer Quincy Jones dubbed the Montreux event "the Rolls-Royce of festivals". Reed MIDEM CEO Paul Zilk recalled BB King's description of Nobs as "like a magnet-he draws people to him."
Earlier in the day, Nobs had entertained the trade conference's delegates with stories from his festival during a "Conversation With" slot with Billboard executive editor/associate publisher Tamara Conniff.