Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux Jazz Festival

Jul 05, 2024Jul 20, 2024
Various prices

Montreux in Canton Vaud is a place of prestige in the music world. It's considered a huge honour to take centre stage at Montreux Jazz Festival and many world-famous musicians have given career-defining performances there. In short, it's a place where legends are born!

Jazz, soul, blues - and everything from bebop to hiphop

The festival is not only about jazz - it's a genre-defying festival in terms of its impressive scope and its broad outlook. It has the honour of being regarded as the second-largest jazz festival in the world, after the illustrious Montreal Jazz Festival.

Artists of jazz, soul, blues, bebop, hiphop and everything in between have graced the stages of the festival over the decades. Artists like Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Elton John and Stevie Wonder have played at Montreux Jazz Festival.

Montreux - an extraordinary festival setting

It’s not uncommon for artists and audiences alike to extend their stay in the region after the festival because there’s just so much to see in the gorgeous “Swiss Riviera”. Montreux is a strikingly beautiful city on the shores of Lake Geneva. Located between the French Alps and the lake, near the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyards, the festival setting is extraordinary.

Over 50 years of Montreux Jazz Festival

The first edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival took place on June 18, 1967, at Montreux Casino, as a result of the vision of Montreux native Claude Nobs. In the early days, it was a purely jazz-themed experience. As the years went by, other genres were represented at the festival, and in the 1970s, acts like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and Deep Purple played there.

The Montreux Casino burned down during Frank Zappa's performance at the festival in 1971. This event was immortalised when Deep Purple wrote their iconic song "Smoke on the Water", in which they sing about the smoke billowing over Lake Geneva during this unfortunate - but unforgettable - event.

The 1980s and 1990s saw a massive expansion of the festival, and the legendary producer Quincy Jones co-produced the festival for several years, which saw it transform further and attract even more artists and genres and an even wider audience demographic. By the early 1990s, the festival had outgrown the casino and moved to the much larger Montreux Convention Centre.

Photo: courtesy of Montreux Jazz Festival montreux-jazz-festival-switzerland.jpg

Montreux Jazz Festival venues

In a typical year, Auditorium Stravinski and Miles Davis Hall in the Montreux Convention Centre are where the magic takes place. However, construction work on the Convention Centre has posed quite the logistical problem this year. Their ingenious solution is to build a stage on the lake, below the Place du Marché, giving audiences a spectacular view as well as world-class music.

The festival also returns to the Casino for the first time in years, which, given its close connections to the roots of the festival, is a real cause for celebration. Eight different venues will be hosting free concerts.

Getting to Montreux Jazz Festival

Public transport is recommended at Montreux Jazz Festival, rather than driving. The festival site is located very close to the train station, so the train is the ideal mode of transport. From Montreux, you can take direct trains to and from Geneva and Lausanne.

The Montreux-Vevey regional bus service is free at certain times of day for ticket-holders on presentation of their tickets on the same day of the concert – this is useful for those living or staying overnight nearby, as there are plenty of night buses running after the concerts. The festival can even be accessed by boat – from nearby Swiss cities like Geneva and Lausanne and from French cities such as Evian.

Get your tickets to Montreux Jazz Festival

Get your tickets on the official Montreux Jazz Festival website. All tickets will be exchanged for a festival wristband on arrival. All visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. If you'd like to hear more world-class music in Montreux, don't miss Septembre Musical Montreux-Vevey which takes place each autumn!

Thumb photo: courtesy of Montreux Jazz Festival